Eury Perez: Marlins 2021 Minor League Player Of The Year

Eury Perez won’t turn 19 until April, but he is a young man with a plan.

The 6-foot-8, 210-pound righthander was asked when he believes he will reach the majors.

“With God’s help,” Perez said in Spanish, “in two years.”

That’s ambitious but not impossible, given what Perez accomplished in 20 starts this season at both Low-A Jupiter and High-A Beloit. He recorded a 1.96 ERA in 78 innings. He allowed 43 hits and 26 walks, striking out 108.

Pitching coach Bruce Walton, who worked with Perez for part of this season, said he hasn’t had to make much in the way of adjustments in the teenager’s game.

“He already had a good idea of how to repeat his delivery,” Walton said. “We just talked about having a good direction toward home plate.”

Perez’s four-seam fastball ranges from 93-97 mph, while his changeup averages 87 and his curveball averages 82.

“His fastball is usually at 95 and has good vertical movement,” Walton said. “His curve has good shape and is pretty consistent. And his changeup has more movement down than side to side.

“You want your changeup down, where you can get more chases.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Perez signed with the Marlins for $200,000 in July 2019. The pandemic prevented him from making his pro debut until this year. But since he signed, Perez grew four inches, gained about 55 pounds and added about 10 mph to his fastball.

Perez said the Marlins want him to lift weights and get stronger this winter, with the goal of gaining about 20 pounds of muscle.

Perez said his balance, especially notable for his height, has always come naturally. “I’ve been able to control my body toward the plate,” he said.

Asked if he is surprised by his success this year, Perez laughed.

“Yes,” he finally said. “I knew I had this capacity. But I’m surprised because of my age and being in these tough leagues.

“Now I have to demonstrate I can compete and that my age doesn’t matter.”

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