- Full name Oliver Pérez
- Born 08/15/1981 in Culiacan, SIN, Mexico
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Cobales
- Debut 06/16/2002
Organization Prospect Rankings
Before signing an agreement with the Mexico City Red Devils, the Padres were affiliated with the Mexican League's Yucatan Lions, to whom they loaned Perez for most of 2000. He made his U.S. full-season debut last year and was the only regular member of low Class A Fort Wayne's rotation to post a winning record. Perez already has average velocity on his fastball and can run it up to 94 mph, but his best pitch is his slider. He moves his pitches in and out, changes speeds and shows no fear. He was the toughest pitcher to run on in the Midwest League, as only five of 15 basestealers succeeded against him. Perez sometimes relies on his fastball too much. When he's willing to throw his slider in any count, he's tough. His changeup and command can use improvement. He has made progress adding weight to his skinny frame, but he still can get stronger. He's just 20, so Perez probably will return to high Class A despite pitching well in nine starts for Lake Elsinore last year. It will be difficult to hold him back if he continues his rapid development.
The Padres have a working agreement with the Mexican League's Yucatan Lions, and let Perez, a native Mexican, pitch there for most of 2000. He held his own against much more experienced hitters, limiting them to a .245 average and three homers in 145 at-bats. Perez has good stuff for a lefthander and is projectable. He already touches 90 mph as a teenager, and he could throw significantly harder one he adds weight to his skinny frame. He already has put on 15 pounds since signing in July 1999. His curveball and changeup are average at times but need more consistency. He almost must learn to work down in the strike zone on a consistent basis. Perez could open 2001 at Fort Wayne, or San Diego could be more patient and send him to its new short-season Eugene affiliate.
Minor League Top Prospects
Managers rated Perez the league's top pitching prospect at midseason. By that time he already had reached San Diego, where he quickly became the Padres' most effective starter. "He has electrifying stuff," Padres scouting director Bill Gayton said. "He's somebody that if things aren't going well, he's the guy to stop it." Perez has a loose, whip-like arm action with outstanding arm speed, generating velocity up to 93 mph. He varies his release points, and especially likes to drop down against lefties. He has a good, quick slider and a deceptive changeup. He still needs to learn to harness his stuff. He tends to go deep into counts, leading to higher pitch counts and shorter outings. One scout expressed some concerns about Perez' slight build, but he surpassed 150 innings for the second straight season without injury.
Mark Phillips and Nobuaki Yoshida figured to be Fort Wayne's lefthanded aces this summer. But Phillips showed up out of shape in spring training and breezed quickly through the MWL after arriving late, while Yoshida had shoulder and pectoral injuries. Up stepped Perez, who spent most of 2000 in the Mexican League. Perez has a loose arm with a lot of upside, though he could clean up his delivery. He has a generally average fastball that peaks at 94 mph, and his slider is his best pitch. He's still working on a changeup and has a decent feel for pitching. The toughest pitcher to run on in the MWL, Perez permitted just five stolen bases in 15 tries.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the California League in 2002
- Mexico activated LHP Oliver Pérez.
- Mexico activated LHP Oliver Pérez.