At this time last year, righthander Hunter Perdue didn’t have a working changeup.
Now it’s his best secondary pitch.
That—combined with a powerful fastball—helps explains why the Marlins are excited about their 10th-round pick last year out of Florida State.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Perdue throws a fastball that sits 94-96 mph but reached 99-100 in short bursts as an FSU reliever last year. He’s also tinkering with his grip on his slider and curveball.
But about that changeup . . .
“After the draft, I sat down with (Marlins coaches),” Perdue said. “I really wanted a pitch that runs away from lefties. Not having that was holding me back.”
In a pro debut spent mostly at Low-A Jupiter last season, Perdue recorded a 3.24 ERA, struck out 31 and walked 14 in 25 innings.
Perdue, who went 23 months without pitching in a game following Tommy John surgery in March 2019, said fastball command hasn’t quite returned since his operation.
As a high school sophomore, Perdue committed to Virginia, where Zimmerman and Reynolds went. But his agreement with the Cavaliers fell apart after elbow issues kept him off the mound for most of his senior year.
Perdue landed at the State JC of Florida instead, but that aforementioned elbow surgery cut short his sophomore season.
He then sat out 2020 and returned last year as a first-time reliever at FSU. He struck out 28 in 22 innings and logged a 3.21 ERA in 20 appearances.
Perdue, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in criminology from FSU, said elbow surgery has been a blessing in disguise.
“Rehab after TJ surgery is only easy if you are willing to put in the work,” Perdue said. “Going 23 months without pitching has helped me appreciate baseball more.”
— The Marlins were raving about 6-foot-8 righthander Eury Perez, whose fastball this spring was averaging 96.5 mph. “He’s a monster,” one executive said.