The Astros Triple-A squad is just brimming with interesting players.
Like the major league team down in Houston, the Fresno Grizzlies have found their winning ways again. The reigning Triple-A National Champions have won eight of their last ten games and find themselves only 5.5 games out of first place in the Pacific Northern division in the Pacific Coast League.
One of the reasons the Grizzlies have shifted their season is the amount of veteran experience this team has. The Grizzlies have 10 players on their roster with major league time under their belts. Some of that time was used to test out prospects at the major league level, such as first baseman Tyler White and third baseman Colin Moran. Others, such as right-handed reliever Josh Fields and catcher Max Stassi, have come up to the majors based on a need.
Players in the Astros organization are trying to break that need-based tag to their name. Danny Worth, a utility infielder who tore the cover off the ball at Triple-A Fresno this season, is one who is trying to create staying power at the major league level. A player who is looking to get that same shot at the major league level is former Washington Nationals outfield prospect Eury Perez.
Signed by the Nationals as an amateur free agent in 2007, the speedy Perez looked to have a high ceiling, stealing 51 bases and hitting .314 with a .705 OPS between three teams in the Nationals organization in 2012.
However, Perez hasn’t really been able to continue that success at the major league level. In 73 career games with the Nationals, the New York Yankees, and most recently with the Atlanta Braves, Perez has a .254 batting average with a .589 OPS. He has also only stolen eight bases in nine attempts.
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In 2015, Perez had his longest major league stint of his career. In 47 games with the Braves, Perez hit .269 with a .633 OPS. He recorded four doubles and drove in five while stealing three bases in four attempts.
Perez signed a minor league contract with the Astros in January. Since then, Perez has been a fourth and a right-handed hitter, with the rest of the outfielders batting left-handed, with some speed off of the bench for the Grizzlies.
In his 52 games played, Perez has a .267 batting average with a .683 OPS. He has recorded nine extra base hits, including three triples, has driven in 16, and has stolen nine bases in 13 attempts.
Kind of taking Tony Kemp’s role as the speed guy in a slow-footed outfield, Perez has gotten some opportunities to play as of late. In his last 10 games, Perez has a .381 batting average, driving in five, scoring three times, and stealing three bases in 21 at bats.
Perez has been struggling with strikeouts though. This season, he has a strikeout percentage at 17.1%, which is close to what is was with the Braves in his short major league stint last season.
Even though Perez has been playing baseball since 2007, it is hard to remember that he is only 26 years old. He has already had 2967 at bats in the minors compared to only 142 at bats in the majors.
With the amount of outfield potential in the organization that is soon to be making its way to Fresno, Perez’s major league shot may not be with the Astros. And as he gets older, it may never come.
Perez has been a solid role player for the Grizzlies this season. It’s going to take a lot more than role player statistics to get another shot at “The Show”.
Update: Perez was traded to the Rays in a cash deal yesterday. We were not aware of the transaction, because it wasn’t a big transaction. See Tweet above via Paul Braverman.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, and MILB.com**