Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/15/14

Prospect followers, please stop panicking over the demise of Texas Rangers pitching prospect Martin Perez. He will be fine. After seeing him face off against arguably the best pitcher on the planet in Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, my first in person look at Perez was an impressive one. Yes, he needs more seasoning at the Minor League level, but he should. As he approaches legal age, Perez is still far ahead of the prospect curve and has both the stuff and time to turn his three pitch mix into on-field results.

 Video after the jump

In his two inning stint, Perez’ line was not particularly impressive, but the stuff was starting with a fastball in the 92-94 MPH range to open the game. His command was spotty including walks to both hitters leading off innings, but the pitch featured some late downward action – especially when down in the zone. It’s also impressive to see a pitcher with such a diminutive stature consistently pushing plus velocity from the left side early.

In the second inning, his velocity dipped a touch, but this is likely due to the early adrenaline rush tapering off leaving a pitcher without the durability to sustain velocity for multiple innings this early in the spring. Off the top of my head, I honestly can’t think of a young pitcher who threw multiple innings and maintained the same velocity in subsequent innings during my time in Phoenix.

Early on, Perez’ curveball was flashing plus with sharp, late bite and a surprising amount of depth. With close to true 12/6 break, it projects as a weapon at the Major League level if he can consistently start the pitch at the thighs against opposing hitters. In his second inning of work, the pitch became less effective as the hard break early on gave way to something softer as if he was guiding the pitch to home plate instead of simply snapping it off. Feel for one’s off-speed pitches can come and go, but again, the consistency developed from logging additional innings against advanced competition should help iron out the kinks.

At 79-82 MPH, his changeup had the makings of a strong third pitch, but was the least developed at this point. It’s very likely that it’s just too early in the spring to really gain feel for the offering, but Perez struggled to throw the pitch for strikes. The pitch was consistently down in the zone often missing down-and-out and out of danger. Additionally, one lefty-lefty change to Andre Ethier where Perez attempted to go inside with the pitch backed up nicely on the outfielders hands.

One concern was that Perez slowed his delivery slightly which was visible when viewing him from a side angle. Repetition will likely smooth this out and sharpen his command to both sides of the plate. If Perez can learn to start the pitch on the outer half to righties and fade it over the black, it will improve his effectiveness versus right-handed hitters. The ability to pair a backdoor changeup with a curveball breaking way from left-handed hitters may also prove to be a lethal combination.

Perez has the athleticism and ability to continue smoothing out his mechanics to tighten up present command issues. A fully healthy 2012 where Perez logs consistent innings throughout would likely do him wonders in that area.

Having missed Perez by a day during his time with the Hickory Crawdads in 2009, scouting “one who got away” was the prospect equivalent to big game hunting for me. Perez ranks only behind Danny Hultzen in terms of left-handed pitchers scouted previously in terms of raw stuff edging out Yankees Manny Banuelos by the closest of margins. Additionally, I’d prefer Perez to former first round picks Jed Bradley (Brewers) and Mike Minor (Braves) even though both have a significant size advantage which makes durability a bit easier to project.

Seeing Perez up against a true ace in Clayton Kershaw was telling in terms of just how talented one has to be at the big league level to truly earn such a lofty label. It would be unfair to project Perez’ place in a rotation based off of a couple of innings, but it was easy to see the raw stuff needed to excel at the game’s highest level was present in spades.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michigan brass in Bay Area for Jim Harbaugh pursuit

Report: Rex Ryan has already cleaned out his office

Clint Trickett retires due to concussions, hid two

Drew Stanton likely out for the year, postseason included

Byron Scott: ‘Idiots’ think Lakers are better team without Kobe

Undrafted QB Connor Shaw to sign with Browns, likely start

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Alex Smith out Week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

Did Kobe Bryant respond to heckler with the rings count?

Doug Fister bought Starbucks for his Twitter followers

DeMarco Murray dumped over cheating accusations?

Video: Rudy Gay tosses half-court alley-oop to McLemore

WATCH: Craig Sager is touched by outpouring of support during leukemia fight

Hiroki Kuroda returns to Japan, ditches Yankees

Kevin Garnett: ‘Very weird’ to see Celtics without Rajon Rondo

Report: New Jersey Devils fire head coach Peter DeBoer

Mark Richt confirms Todd Gurley will leave UGA for NFL

Frank Gore: Colin Kaepernick is 'not broke'

The story of Morgan Bulkeley and birth of National League

Five breakout stars in 2014

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Murray dumped over cheating scandal?

Rex Ryan has cleaned out his office

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.