Padres Minor League Spotlight: Fernando Perez

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Courtesy: Jeff Nycz
Courtesy: Jeff Nycz

When the San Diego Padres drafted Fernando Perez in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, a potential home town hero was created. Perez was born in Ensenada Mexico, but went to high school in Chula Vista at Otay Ranch High School. The 21 year old Perez is showing some impressive tools with the bat and could one day play for his hometown team.

The left-handed hitting Perez is described on a scouting report as a advanced hitter with the ability to drive the ball well to all fields. That alone will take him far in the minor league system. If you can hit, they will find a place for you to play. Unfortunately for Perez his defense has been a knock on him early in his career, putting that before mentioned theory to test.

Perez started out as a third baseman but committed 48 errors in his first three seasons at the hot corner. (Perez had 16 errors in each of the first three seasons of his professional career)  An .840 fielding percentage resulted in a move to second base. Most of Perez’s errors were said to be throwing related. His fielding percentage skyrocketed to .967 the last two seasons while playing mostly second base. He has good hands, but his arm and foot speed is suspect for a future in the major leagues.

At 6 foot and 210 lbs, Perez has decent size but is probably undersized to be utilized at first base. Fernando Perez hit .284 last season with 18 homers, 24 doubles and 95 runs batted in. That was in 116 games and 469 at bats for the Ft Wayne Tin Caps. Perez however did strike out 106 times and only drew 25 walks resulting in a .322 on base percentage. Impressive power numbers for a middle infielder.

Can Perez work on his footwork to stay at second base is anyone’s guess. That is really on him. He does have tremendous value at second base with a power bat like that. At the age of 21 Fernando Perez is a few minor league seasons from arriving at Petco Park. If he continues to work on the little things he will surely be a part of the Padres plans. The hometown factor will be a nice heartwarming story for the city as well.

After a slow start this season up the road in Lake Elsinore, Perez has recently turned it on. Going 12-33 with 2 homers and 12 RBI’s in his last eight games. His average so far this season in high A-Ball is .253 and he has three home runs and 19 runs batted in. Perez has struggled so far this season against left-handed pitchers. He is currently .103 (3-29) with 12 strike outs. Last season Perez hit left handers fairly well going .254 with five homers and 27 RBI’s, so it’s not overly concerning.

With the hometown factor on his side, I am really pulling for Fernando Perez. I hope that he makes the needed adjustment to take his game to the next level. He is very young and has a tremendous amount of talent. The sky is the limit for this young man. He could one day be the Padres starting second baseman.

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