Tigers Prospect Profile #34: Hernan Perez

Despite being so young, Hernan Perez came stateside at 18-years old for the '09 season, turning in mixed results as he bounced around multiple levels. What skill-set does Perez have, and how high is his ceiling?

Hernan Perez
Position: Shortstop
Height: 6-0
Weight: 165
Born: 3/26/1991
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Just like fellow Venezuelan shortstop prospect Dixon Machado, Perez flew a bit under the radar in international scouting circles, but he was a high priority signing for the Tigers during the 2007 international signing period. The Tigers – led by Jesus Garces and Pedro Chavez – inked Perez on July 2nd, just hours after the signing period opened.

Perez made his professional debut during the 2008 Venezuelan Summer League, and while the raw numbers don't look promising, onlookers were continually impressed with his abilities in the field and at the plate. Perez finished the summer with a .226/.278/.576 line while tying for second in the league in games played.

Hernan's defense stood out from the get go, as he led the VSL in total chances, putouts, and assists, while playing shortstop everyday for the Tigers.

The Tigers aggressively pushed Perez stateside for the 2009 season at age 18. After a solid showing in spring training, Perez got his first taste of ball in the United States with an assignment to the GCL Tigers. In 21 games (over multiple stints), Perez amassed a modest .222/.259/.395 line in the rookie-level league.

Where Perez really showed some promise was with temporary assignments to both West Michigan and Lakeland. In 21 games filling in for a decimated Flying Tiger squad at the end of the season, Perez hit .264 with four doubles and a triple, while driving in ten.

The big breakout for Perez came during the Liga Paralela season in Venezuela, where he absolutely burst on the scene and torched league pitching to the tune of a .350/.389/.623 line in 49 games. Perez did everything imaginable, including ripping 16 doubles and ten home runs, along with stealing eleven bases. Castillo finished the fall/winter season in the top ten of the league in batting average, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, home runs, and total bases.

Scouting Report
Perez is an excellent athlete with quickness, dexterity, balance, agility, and strength. He moves well in the field, befitting a true shortstop. His hands are outstanding and very quick on the double play. Perez moves well to both sides thanks to good instincts and above-average speed. His footwork is strong and he routinely makes accurate throws from all over the field with an above-average arm.

Offensively, Perez has wiry strength and he can generate good bat speed through the zone. His swing is consistent and compact and he regularly squares up balls with the fat part of the bat. He uses the entire field well, but his in-game power remains largely to the pull side. He has the strength and bat speed to hit for average power down the line, particularly as he learns to stay back and trust his swing more.

Perez is an intelligent player that understands the intricacies of the game despite his youth. He positions himself well in the field, understands his movements in the field in accordance with pitch selection and batter tendencies, and he wants to be an elite defender. He works hard in every phase of the game, and many in the organization love his makeup and work ethic.

Perez is another in a long line of organizational shortstops that have great potential with the glove, and are just waiting for the bat to catch up. If the bat comes to life, Perez's ceiling could be that of a solid everyday shortstop.














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Health Record
There have been no significant injuries in Perez's short career. He has demonstrated durability playing nearly every day during his first two years, without much fatigue shown late in the season.

The Future
Perez will play the 2010 season at just 19-years old, his second season in the United States. With no big time prospect having his level of experience and relative polish, Perez is a strong candidate to earn the everyday honors at shortstop for West Michigan to start the season.

Much like Cale Iorg, Audy Ciriaco, and Gustavo Nunez, Perez needs the bat to catch up to his glove. If that happens, he could move quickly and could forge himself into a legitimate middle infield prospect. The 2010 season will be a big year for Perez, as he tries to transition some of his fall league success to the Midwest League in his real taste of full-season ball. There are numerous shortstops ahead of him on the organizational depth chart, but Perez will get the same opportunities to prove himself, and could vault himself up the list with a strong season.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.

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