Detroit Tigers: 3 prospects who could make the 2023 Opening Day roster
INF Wenceel Perez
Perez is kind of in the same boat as Meadows. Signed all the way back 2016 as an international free agent, he stagnated a bit in High-A. He was a toolsy, but scrawny middle infielder who was just a slap hitter as a teenager. Many fans and baseball outlets had written him off.
Now at age 22, Perez has bulked up and changed his approach to put himself back on the map. He started this season in High-A, where he slashed .286/.364/.529 in 206 at-bats. This earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he has gotten even better. In 150 ABs with the SeaWolves, he has slashed .307/.374/.540. He has 14 total home runs this season, which is four more than he had the last three years combined.
Perez was not ranked in the top 30 in the Tigers farm system coming into the season, but now he has skyrocketed back up to 15th in MLB Pipeline’s rankings.
Defensively, Perez can play third base, second base, and shortstop, which gives him the flexibility that A.J. Hinch always covets. If he can keep it up, he could easily see the big leagues some time next year—possibly even Opening Day with a strong spring training.
The biggest hurdle to that happening has nothing to do with his play—it’s his health. Perez has a lingering back issue that’s landed him on the IL multiple times this season—including right now. Lingering injuries are never good, no matter what it is. Hopefully an offseason of rest will help fix that issue.