When the Tigers drafted Ryan Perry with the 21st pick of the 2008 Draft, scouts were undecided on whether his future was as a closer or a starter. The Tigers made it clear though when they signed Perry that he would be the future closer of the organization. Now after a late signing in 2008, Perry will look to get his first full season underway knowing that with the right showing and improvements, he could be just one call away from being an everyday reliever at the major league level.
A shortstop by trade when Perry began his baseball career, the Wildcats converted him to a starter after a pretty bad motorcycle accident broke his left hand. After being converted to a starter, Perry struggled to find his command. After losing his starting job, he joined one of the best bullpens in the NCAA in 2008. Alongside fellow first round pick Daniel Schlereth and current top 100 draft prospect Jason Stoffel. Perry signed with the Tigers close to the deadline for 1.48 million. Shortly after signing, Perry was sent to the rookie league (GCL Tigers) where he pitched only two innings and struck out four. Perry was then promoted to Lakeland where he went 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in twelve games. He struck out twelve as well in twelve innings pitched. He did walk 7 though, and control has constantly been an issue throughout his young pitching career.
What the Tigers fell in love with was the big arm that Perry brings to the mound. Before the Tigers signed him, the righty hit 100 MPH on the radars. His slider has been compared to Brad Lidge’s nasty breaker that has been one of the biggest out pitches in baseball. The Tigers were rumored to try and push Perry to the major league level when they expanded rosters, but that never developed. During the season, Perry has started developing a 2-seam fastball that has a lot of sink. This could be a big factor in his major league success early, because he does struggle to keep the ball low in the zone. Last year at times, it seemed he threw pitches rigth down the pipe if he was in trouble.
Another pitch that could be a huge factor in Perry’s success is his underdeveloped changeup. It is nowhere near major league ready, but could be another part of his arsenal to help fool left handed sluggers. What the Tigers fell in love with was his arm speed. Perry’s fastball now sits at 97 and hour and compliments his high 80’s slider. Tigers Vice President of Amateur Scouting, David Chadd believes that Perry could mirror the likes of Jonathon Papelbon and Joba Chamberlain. Both of which started their careers as starters. The director of the Major League Scouting Bureau (Find out more about the Bureau here) compared Perry to flame thrower Brandon Morrow.
Ryan Perry’s delivery is pretty sound. His delivery, which includes an above arm delivery, is very fluent to the plate. The only issue seems to be a slight dip in the shoulder some times. Perry gets alot of his power from a pretty hard push off of his lead leg. This is one of the big reasons why many see him as a reliever in the future. One thing he will need to work on is his pace. He quickness to get from pitch to pitch could be a good reason why he lacks consistency.