Detroit Tigers Prospects: Rule 5 Selection Yunior Perez

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 10: Meijer employees and medical workers transformed Comerica Park into a makeshift vaccination hub during a free flu clinic vaccination event held by Meijer at Comerica Park on November 10, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. With Covid-19 cases skyrocketing around the US medical professionals fear that a bad flu season will only make things worse and further fill hospitals and deplete medical supplies around the nation. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 10: Meijer employees and medical workers transformed Comerica Park into a makeshift vaccination hub during a free flu clinic vaccination event held by Meijer at Comerica Park on November 10, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. With Covid-19 cases skyrocketing around the US medical professionals fear that a bad flu season will only make things worse and further fill hospitals and deplete medical supplies around the nation. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images) /
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The Detroit Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Yunior Perez from the Cubs during the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday

The Detroit Tigers, after selecting Akil Baddoo in the major league portion of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, selected former Cubs right-handed pitcher Yunior Perez to add to their minor league system. Perez, who will be 22 on December 19th, pitched in Short-Season A for the Chicago Cubs organization in 2019.

In his 2019 campaign, Perez pitched to a 4.73 ERA; appearing in 13 games and starting 3 of them. He pitched a total of 26.2 innings and struck out 30 while walking 21. Perez did not crack MLB Pipeline’s top 30 for the Cubs’ prospect list and checked in at #40 on Fangraphs’ prospect board.

Physical Description

Perez’s 6’4 list appears accurate, but his barrel-chested frame suggests he maybe 20-25 lbs over his 190 lbs list weight. Frankly, he looks like the typical Detroit Tigers’ relief power arm; similar to the Bruce Rondon, Melvin Mercedes, and Angel Nesbitt types we have seen over the years. He features sloped shoulders, long arms, and a thick, tapered lower half.

Mechanics

Perez does have a subtle side-step wind-up that is simple in nature; he fires from a high 3/4 slot with easy effort. An exclusive stretch down the road is likely as he transitions to a relief role. He has decent extension that could be even better and hides the ball well which helps his overall deception. He does get stiff on the follow through.

Fastball

Perez’s fastball is rumored to hover 93-95 and topping out at 97; features boring action down in the zone and arm side run near the upper-third. Command with the pitch is lagging especially from the stretch; will miss both sides of the plate with the pitch. Plus velocity that probably plays down a tick due to his issues with command on the pitch.

Slider

It’s listed as a slider from most publications but it’s really a curveball path and traditional curveball velocity at 77-80; features 11/5 break and nears 12/6 downward movement; lacks necessary horizontal break for a traditional slider. Not afraid to throw it inside for called strikes, but will bury beneath the zone as well. Projects as an average offering at the highest levels.

Changeup

Lagging third offering; flashes plus fade beneath the zone but lacks feel with the pitch. Occasionally squeezes it too hard, causing it to get buried in the dirt. Throws it on both sides of the plate, but will need significant repetitions to reach any average level.

Control and Command

Issued walks at a fringe-rate in his minor league career until he came stateside where hitters are a bit more patient at the plate. a 7.09 walks per nine innings would not play anywhere, but that may partially be attributed to a small sample size. He does miss the glove with all of his pitches and relies heavily on timing with his delivery; making additional gains a longshot without some re-working of the motion.

Overall

It is not terribly common to call 22 year-olds lotto tickets, but Perez does feature the makings of a lotto-ticket type. Considering they got Perez for nothing, any major league role would be a ‘win’ by Rule 5 standards, especially in the minor league portion of the draft. He’ll need significant gains in the command department to realize his ceiling. Realistically, he’s likely an emergency depth piece for the organization.