Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012 Top Prospects #14: Carlos Perez

Name: Carlos Perez
Position: Catcher
Acquired: Signed as free agent (2008)
Opening Day age: 21
Height/weight: 6’0”/193 lbs
Best/worst tool: Fielding/power
Risk factor: High
ETA: 2015

Scouting Report

Like many Venezuelan baseball players, Perez has plenty of athleticism and flare. Perez, however, plays catcher, giving him a rare and unusual toolset for the position. He’s athletic with solid-average straight line speed (though his baserunning could use some work). This helps him behind the plate, where he’s a plus defender. He can go from knees to feet (or vice versa) quickly, and pounces on balls in the dirt with haste. His arm is another plus defensive tool, as he frequently registers excellent pop times and maintains outstanding caught stealing rates. Power is Perez’ worst tool, as it is well below average and, due to a frame that doesn’t scream projections, isn’t likely to significantly improve in his twenties. Doubles and triples will continue to be a big part of his game, but his home run ceiling is likely in single digits. Perez has a good eye and an advanced approach at the plate, and should always maintain a solid walk to strikeout ratio. His swing is overly reliant upon his upper half, hurting his bat speed and creating unwanted loft. With his athleticism and lack of power, he would be better off with a more level swing to generate line drives and ground balls as opposed to fly balls. Perez’ bat has solid-average potential, but he definitely has some issues to correct.

2011 Statistics and Analysis

383 AB, .256/.320/.355 (.675 OPS), 17 2B, 6 3B, 3 HR, 41 RBI, 6 SB, 37/74 BB/K

Not a lot went right for Carlos Perez in 2011. Making his full season debut after three dominant years in short season ball, Perez saw a decline in almost every offensive statistic. His ISO (099) and walk rate (8.6%) both dropped significantly from their 2010 numbers (140 and 12.2% respectively), while his strikeout rate rose from 14.7% to 17.2%. This accumulated into a subpar .256 average, a far cry from his .299 career average entering the year. Additionally, his BABIP was a more than respectable .304, so it’s unrealistic to slap the “unlucky” tag on Perez’ season and give him a mulligan. He played poorly. The reason for this statistical drop off is difficult to determine. While it’s easy to point to the length of the season wearing on him, he started almost as badly as he finished, so it’s doubtful that’s the cause. The Midwest League –- a difficult hitters league -– could be the culprit, but his teammates and fellow Top 30 prospects Jake Marisnick, Marcus Knecht, and Michael Crouse didn’t seem to have any issues compiling strong offensive statistics. Whatever the reason for his struggles may be, he needs to avoid a repeat performance in 2012, otherwise his prospect status may diminish irreparably.

Expected 2012 Assignment: Single-A Lansing

Future Outlook

Needless to say Perez’ future took a serious hit in 2011. After ranking as the systems 8th best prospect entering last season, Perez suffered the biggest drop, falling six spots down to 14th. Given just how poor his performance was, it’s doubtful Toronto will give him the benefit of the doubt in 2012, and he’s likely ticketed for a repeat of Lansing to open the year –- never a good sign for a top prospect. Should he open the year strongly in April and May, he could see a quick promotion to the Florida State League where he’d finish the season with High-A Dunedin. With such a poor showing in his full season debut, any hope of Perez moving through the system quickly has evaporated. If everything goes to plan he could see time in Toronto at some point in 2015, but that’s far from a guarantee at this point.

Perfect World Projection: Everyday catcher who hits at the top of the lineup.

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