Perez was given a lengthy report in the Texas Rangers 2009 Minor Minor League Review. I’ll quote the highlights for those too lazy to click the link,
“Jaw-dropping! Simply amazing. Keith Law ranked [number one in the Rangers system]! [M]y excitement is higher than Brad Evans on Adderall talking about his current fantasy baseball man crush. Perez throws a 91 to 95 mph fastball, a 1-to-7 curve that he chooses to throw 68 and 81 mph, and potential plus changeup that sits between 78 to 82 mph. He doesn’t light up the gun like Feliz, or drop a curve like Wainwright … [P]otential to be the next Johan Santana according to Baseball America, John Sickels [and Keith Law] … Currently he is pitching at Double-A and if all goes well, he’ll be in Triple-A by the end of the season, if not a September call-up. If you in a long term dynasty league where you can keep everyone (or if you have a few minor league roster spots) lost out on the Chapman and Strasburg hype this year, pick this young man up. Think of a mix between Clayton Kershaw and Johan Santana.”
Since I wrote that article, I haven’t received any new information about his pitches or makeup. He has top of the rotation potential, is physically still maturing, only NINETEEN years old, and Keith Law’s analysis of his throwing motions which is, “His delivery works well, with a big stride toward the plate, early pronation, good arm acceleration, and very good deception between the way he keeps his arm behind his body and that acceleration.” Here is his 2010 season and career stats (2010 stats are at Double-A):
2010 Stats: 9.1 K/9 | 4.5 BB/9 | 99 2/3 IP | 5.96 ERA | 4.17 FIP | 1.68 WHIP | 1.1 Hr/9 | 10.6 H/9 | .367 BABIP | 47.9 GB% | 19.2 LD% | 28.3 FB% | 11.5 Hr/FB%
Career Stats: 8.9 K/9 | 3.8 BB/9 | 276 IP | 4.17 ERA | 3.74 FIP | 1.49 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 9.6 H/9 | .350 BABIP | 48 GB% | 19.3 LD% | 26.5 FB% | 7.9 Hr/FB%
Not quite as promising as baseball scouts anticipated. The title of being the best left-handed pitcher in the minors will now be in question with Matt Moore’s utter dominance of Class High-A. Perez is still extremely young, has tremendous upside, but with a disappointing season at Double-A, he has a lot to prove this year in the Arizona Fall League (if he pitches there), or next season. The strikeouts and ground ball rates are his too largest positives, while the walks increased, home run rate increased, the hit rate was far too high (10.6 H/9) and hitters are still making a lot of solid contact with his pitches (19.2 LD%). Some of this can be attributed to an abnormally high batting average on balls in play (.367 BABIP), albeit, this can’t be his crutch to remain one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball for the upcoming 2011 season. Still very projectable, but his stud-prospect status took a hit this year.
I’m a sucker for sticking to my promises (see: Red Sox 2009 Minor League Review and scroll to the bottom). Not high on my personal list of great prospects, but Rizzo showed plenty of potential this year playing in the pitching-friendly Carolina League and the Eastern League. As some of you may know, he lost the entire 2008 season due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and spent most of the 2009 season proving himself again. Currently, the cancer remains in remission. Rizzo is a pure hitter with a smooth lefthanded stroke, is able to keep the bat in the zone, hits line drives to all fields and has good power to the gaps (read: doubles hitter). Projects to be a 20 to 30 homer hitter with tremendous defensive abilities with his soft hands, good range and strong arm. Some scouts believe he’ll be a Mark Grace-type first baseman. Some notable negatives: his swing can get long, he’s a below-average runner and has less power than Lars Anderson. In the competition for the future first basemen for the Red Sox, Rizzo has a better hitting approach (that is still maturing) and much is better defensively than Lars Anderson. Here is his 2010 and career stats (2010 stats have 117 AB at Class High-A (Carolina League) and the rest at Double-A (Eastern League):
2010 Stats: .260/.334/.480 | 531 AB | 67 XBH | 25 Hr | .220 ISO | 10/1 SB/CS | 132:61 K:BB | .297 BABIP | 37.7 GB% | 16.2 LD% | 46.1 FB%
Career Stats: .284/.354/.469 | 1080 AB | 123 XBH | 38 Hr | .185 ISO | 14/2 SB/CS | 248:115 K:BB | .339 BABIP | 38.7 GB% | 19.1 LD% | 41.6 FB%
This is what Lars Anderson did in 2009 at Double-A with a league average slash line of .258/.332/.385:
.233/.328/.345 | 447 AB | 23 2B | 9 HR | .112 ISO | 114:63 K:BB | .296 BABIP | 54.8 GB% | 13 LD% | 32.2 FB%
Although not a completely fair comparison, it does provide a bit of contextual evidence for each player. This year the slash line for the Eastern League was .259/.332/.397 and Rizzo definitely performed better than league average (he hit .263/.334/.481) in regards to power. With 42 doubles this year between the two levels, the gap power was clearly evident, along with the need to improve his plate approach (132:61 K:BB). The average is a bit of a disappointment, but that’s the most susceptible to larger fluctuations in the last slash line. More concerning is that his home run power output isn’t what most teams want out of their first baseman, especially in the American League, and the AL East at that. Nevertheless, Rizzo continues to produce solid numbers all across the board but does need to improve his on-base percentage. The Red Sox now have a conundrum starting in Spring Training in 2011: Lars Anderson didn’t have the most inspiring season at Triple-A this year, and Rizzo deserves to be promoted to Triple-A to start the 2011 season. Unless Anderson explodes during his 2010 September showing in the majors, they will duke it out for the “future first baseman” title in the spring.