Detroit Tigers Prospect Report: Franklin Perez

The Detroit Tigers have lots of new faces thanks to a variety of trades. “Future Friday” is a new segment where we examine the newest prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.

The Detroit Tigers sold off a lot of veteran talent in the past year in exchange for prospects.

While it can be hard for fans to see all-star caliber players like J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila dealt, not to mention franchise icon Justin Verlander, the return can be an exciting batch of prospects who will become the next stars in Detroit.

‘Future Fridays,’ our new weekly column, will pick a new prospect and delve into their expected impact on the team. With so many new faces, we want to help Tigers fans identify the newest wave of Tigers players as they move into rebuilding mode.

Our first post will focus on the Tigers number one ranked prospect, right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez.

The Tigers future ace?

Perez came over to the Tigers in the heartbreaking (but arguably necessary) Justin Verlander trade last August. The Astros got a future hall of famer who helped lead them to their first ever World Series championship.

The Tigers got a haul of prospects who have oodles of potential, but are a few years away from reaching the majors.

Perez is the prize of the bunch, checking in as the 40th ranked prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.

Just 19 years old, Perez has only been pitching since he was 15. He was originally a third baseman while playing at former Tiger Carlos Guillen’s training academy in Venezuela.

However, once he got on the mound the results spoke for themselves. Perez rocketed through the minors after being signed by the Astros for $1 million in 2014. He made 10 starts in A-ball in 2016, the only 18-year-old to do so.

He posted a 2.84 ERA and struck out 75 batters in 66.2 innings.

Perez dominated his first few starts at High-A in 2017 before a knee injury kept him out for a month.

Once he returned, he put together six solid starts at Double-A before coming to Detroit.

A lot has been written about Perez’s offerings and his potential on the mound. I’ll let FanGraphs writer and prospect expert Eric Longenhangen sum him up:

Perez, who has a deceptive, vertical arm slot, features a mid-90s fastball that tops out around 96. It has grounder-inducing plane when Perez is locating it down and it’s quick enough to miss bats up at the letters, where he most frequently works with it. He also has feel for locating an above-average curveball and flashes a fading, above-average changeup. There’s a work-in-progress slider here, too, and if it improves enough to usurp the curveball – which is better suited as a change-of-pace strike pitch – as Perez’s primary way to miss bats against righties, then he could be a monster.

Listed at 6’3 and 197 pounds, Perez may have some growing still to do. That growth could increase his already strong velocity and give him a 70-grade fastball along with his improving secondaries.

Perez will likely start out in Double-A next season. At 19, he is still probably two years away from making his debut. But when he does, he has the potential to anchor the Tigers rotation.

Along with prospects Matt Manning and Alex Faedo, Perez could be a piece of the Tigers rotation for years to come.

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