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Freicer Perez Shows Substantial Growth In Full-Season Debut

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At least one scout has compared 17-year-old righthander Luis Medina with Luis Severino, making him the Yankees’ pitching prospect with the highest ceiling.

But righty Freicer Perez shouldn’t be discounted, because he has pitched himself into position where other clubs have called general manager Brian Cashman about the 21-year-old.

Perez, who is 6-foot-9, 240 pounds and signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014, went 9-0, 2.41 in a 14-game stretch at low Class A Charleston from June 14 to Aug. 31 last year.

During that streak Perez worked 78.1 innings, allowed 47 hits, fanned 78 and limited batters to a .175 average.

"He has some work to do with his delivery, but he is definitely a prospect," said a scout who saw Perez at Charleston.

While Perez's June-to-August stretch was dynamite. His entire body of work last year was impressive. In 24 starts he recorded a 2.84 ERA, struck out 117 in 123.2 innings and gave up 96 hits. Perez finished his breakout season with six scoreless innings in Game 1 of the South Atlantic League playoffs in which he fanned nine Greenville batters.

So what was the difference between 2017 and 2016, when he ran up a 4.47 ERA in 13 starts at short-season Staten Island?

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"He incorporated his legs more,’’ said minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell of Perez, whose fastball ranges from 94-100 mph and averages 96. "After the fourth or fifth start he got used to things. It was his first full season. And he developed a slider.’’

Despite his large frame, Perez has impressive athleticism.

"He is a great athlete (and is) built like a power forward in the NBA,’’ said Borrell, a former Yankees prospect who enters his 10th year as a coach. "He has a good move and is quick to the plate."

Medina may be tops at the lower levels, but Perez is someone the Yankees believe can help in the big leagues at some point based on the improvement he made in 2017.

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