This article is the start of a weekly series I will be doing. The Yankees farm system is so stacked, everyone hears about the likes of Torres and Andujar, but there are still so many prospects that Yankee fans must know about, and every week I will be covering a different slightly lesser known to completely unknown Yankee prospect.
My first prospect spotlight is Freicer Perez.
Perez is a 6’8”, 190 lb. right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic, who signed for just $10,000 in a signing period (2014-15) that ended with more than $17 million spent on international players. This is the same signing period that led to OF Estevan Florial, SS Diego Castillo, OF Pablo Oliveras, and SS Hoy-Jun Park.
Perez is currently listed as the #8 prospect in the Yankees system according to MLB.com and the #6 according to Fangraphs, and was even ranked the #73 overall prospect by Keith Law. On the 20/80 future value scale on MLB.com, Perez projects as at least average in every category:
|Fastball: 70||Curveball: 55|
|Slider: 50||Changeup: 55|
|Control: 50||Overall: 50|
Linked here in this four minute video, you’ll see his lengthy frame and his lower ¾, arm slot, which helps generate a lot of horizontal movement on his pitches. Despite his size, his delivery doesn’t have a lot of moving parts and is very repeatable. The weight he has added since he joined the minors has helped raise his average velo from 90-93, all the way to 96-97, and topping out at 99 (MLB.com). His second best pitch, his changeup (which shows the ability to be a plus pitch) tends to sit around 88-89, and he uses his arm speed to help disguise the fact it doesn’t have much movement. Another potential plus pitch, his curveball, sits in the low 80’s and has good vertical and horizontal movevent. His slider is still very much in the development stages, but he throws it hard and it has a lot of promise.
As for the stats, in 2017 at Single-A Charleston Perez put up a 2.84 ERA in 24 starts. In 123.2 innings, Perez pitched to a 1.14 WHIP with 117 strikeouts to 45 walks, all at the age of 21. His first year of full-season pro ball did not affect him at all, as he went 10-0 with a 2.24 ERA in his final 15 starts including the playoffs without losing any velocity on any of his pitches. A good sign: he only gave up 5 home runs all season, showing he can keep the ball in the ballpark.
Perez has shown the ability to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate and locate his other pitches when needed, but his control overall still needs work, which is to be expected from someone who is still such a young and raw prospect.
Perez has the ceiling to become a front of the rotation starter with a floor of a multi inning bullpen guy who can get a ton of strikeouts and doesn’t give up home runs, kind of like Chad Green. Perez has more potential to be a major league starter than Green, but has the ability to become what Green has become.
Perez is a very underrated prospect in the Yankees system. His earliest potential arrival is September call-ups in 2019, but I expect Perez to be challenging for a 5th rotation spot or bullpen role during Spring Training 2020. If Perez can build off his 2017 success and add some more innings per outing to help build stamina, then his prospect rankings will sky rocket. He is a top prospect in the making.