Eury Perez Bets On Himself
Eddy Perez stands 5-foot-3. His wife Xiomara is 5-foot-2.
Their only son is a towering 6-foot-8 and an emerging Marlins prospect.
Eury Perez has already reached 97.6 mph as a skinny, 205-pound righthander who is still filling out his impressive frame.
Perez, who turned 18 in April, signed for $200,000 on July 2, 2019. This season he made his pro debut for Low-A Jupiter.
“He’s done a nice job throwing strikes consistently,” said Jason Erickson, pitching coach for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Marlins. “He has been developing his secondary pitches over the past several weeks. He has good feel for his changeup and nice spin on his slider.”
Perez, interviewed in Spanish, said he threw his changeup 25% of the time in a recent outing. Switching to English temporarily, he called the pitch “nasty.”
A native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, Perez said there were no ballfields in his neighborhood. He and about seven other kids found a field under a bridge near a river. They borrowed softballs, a bat and some old gloves from a neighbor, and that’s how his career began.
Perez was all of 6 years old.
He said he had a “fever” for baseball, and he asked his parents to put him in a proper league, but money was scarce.
“I told my mom to keep a ledger on what she spent,” Perez said. “I told her, ‘I will pay you back. I’m going to be really good.' "
Originally a position player, Perez became a pitcher at age 12 when coaches noticed his strong arm. At age 15, he grew six inches to 6-foot-3, and things took off from there.
However, two months after he signed with the Marlins, his parents got fired from the shop where Eddy worked as a mechanic and Xiomara ran the cash register. Eury believes it had to do with jealousy regarding his signing bonus.
That $200,000 bonus Perez got, by the way, was down to $100,000 after his academy and league got their cut, he said. From there, he gave his parents money to buy a new mechanic shop, and he is highly motivated to eventually reach the majors.
“Everything I do,” Perez said, “is for my parents.”
Perez, who had to wear borrowed clothes after he grew so tall back home, can now afford his own wardrobe, and that includes Nike sneakers that he dreamed of but could never have before earning his bonus.
The Marlins, who project Perez to gain 20 pounds of good weight in the years ahead, are pleased with what they they have seen from him so far.
“For a guy that tall and that young, he’s really coordinated and stays in his delivery well,” Erickson said. “He controls his effort, and that’s the reason he throws so many strikes.
“All he needs is more experience.”