No player impressed the Rangers in the first half more than outfielder/first baseman Yanio Perez.
The 21-year-old Cuban chewed up the South Atlantic League, hitting .322/.392/.533 in 49 games to earn a promotion to high Class A Down East. Perez, who signed last September, got off to a slow start there, recording a .576 OPS through 14 games.
Still, the Rangers remain impressed by Perez’s tools and ability to play all four corner spots on the field.
Compared with another Cuban in the system, second baseman Andy Ibanez, Perez shows more power and more versatility. If he shows that he can handle the Carolina League, Perez could be joining Ibanez at Double-A Frisco before the season ends.
“He’s hit ever since we had him in spring training,” farm director Jayce Tingler said. “He’s strong and has good hand-eye coordination. Overall, he’ll go as far as his bat takes him, and we think he’s got a chance to hit for power and average.”
Biggest Leap Forward
The Rangers aren’t ready to call righthander Collin Wiles a late-bloomer, even though they drafted the Kansas high school righthander in the supplemental first round in 2012 after selecting Lewis Brinson and Joey Gallo, who both have reached the majors.
Wiles, meanwhile, started this season at Frisco after spending all of 2016 at hitter-friendly high Class A High Desert. But that tough assignment with the now-defunct California League club helped him gain confidence and learn how to pitch.
The experience translated into a spot in the Texas League all-star game this season. He went 6-4, 3.83 in 16 games (15 starts) with 57 strikeouts and 10 walks in 85 innings.
Wiles doesn’t overpower batters with his fastball, but he commands his heater and three other pitches in his arsenal.
“He’s locating with his fastball extremely well,” Tingler said. “He’s changing speeds well, so he’s rocking hitters back and forth. He’s going down and away, up and in. He’s just pitching.”