Rangers Prospect to Watch: Martin Perez LHP


This past year with Double-A Frisco Martin Perez finished the season at just under 100 innings played. The stats on Perez don’t necessarily tell the story of his talent last year Perez started 23 games going 5 and 8 his ERA was 5.96 but averaged 9.12 strikeouts a game. 2010 was his first full season with Frisco having split time between Single-A and Double-A in the previous season.

Most prospect sites have Perez in the top three prospects for the Texas Rangers, and many have him as the number one prospect for the organization. Baseball Prospectus has Perez as the 33rd best prospect in all of baseball.

Keith Law of ESPN has Perez at number eighteen of all prospects, he wasn’t kind to Perez and details his injury issues last season-

Perez’s performance this year was one of the most disappointing for any player in last year’s top 20, even though nothing significant changed in his delivery or stuff. I did have one report of Perez struggling to top 90 mph in a mid-summer start, but he was dealing with a minor back strain at the time and he was 89-93 and flashing higher most of the season. His changeup is slightly ahead of his breaking ball, but both project as above-average-to-plus pitches.

The delivery remains clean and efficient, although he showed a little more effort last year as the Rangers tried to fine-tune the arm action; he fought the back issue as well as a cracked fingernail, both of which could easily affect a pitcher’s command. Had Perez rolled out a 3.00 ERA and peripherals to match in Double-A this year, he’d still be in the top ten overall, but the poor results mean he’s not quite the sure thing he appeared to be a year ago, and he’s probably further from major league production than we thought.

ESPN Insiders can see Law’s full top 100 prospects list here.

Perez has the three standard pitches most players have in their arsenal, the fastball, and changeup and a developing curve-ball. Perez doesn’t have a tremendous amount of power in his fastball but it’s generally clocked in the early to mid 90’s. Comparisons to Johan Santana have been made for Perez who is a Venezuelan born player as well. That’s a high expectation but Perez seems to be up for the challenge.

Some believe we may see Martin in Arlington this season but with the Rangers current depth and strength I think they will be happy to let him season a bit in the minors. This has typically been the way the organization has operated with other prospects, patiently. Although he has said he will be ready when the Rangers call him up, Perez who turns 21 in April has plenty of time to prepare himself for the bigs.

-In my Q & A with “The Voice of the RoughRiders” Aaron Goldsmith I asked him about Perez, here is what he had to say.

I’m really rooting for Martin this year.  He’s so young and has had such lofty expectations the last couple of years.  I’m really hoping to see more consistency out of him this season.  Last year he’d lose control of his off-speed stuff one day, and then find it the next.  Same for his fastball.  It’s true for all pitchers, but Perez needs to be able to work all his pitches for strikes for six innings.
It’s really hard to guess what the Rangers timetable is for him in regards to getting to Triple-A.  Clearly the sooner the better, but it’s obvious that Texas doesn’t want to rush him.

Hopefully I will be able to catch a Perez start this season in Frisco and would encourage other fans to do the same. We look forward to his progress and will update you on it throughout the season.