Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 3/16/12

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.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker