2008 Cardinals Prospect #4 – Chris Perez

2008 Cardinals Prospect #4 – Chris Perez

Drafted in 2006, Perez has quickly progressed to Triple-A. When will "now" arrive for the Cardinals' "closer of the future" and when it does, will he be up to it?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: 8

Position: RP

DOB: 7/1/1985

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 225

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Miami (FL)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the supplemental first round (42nd overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

2007 stats

Tm

W

L

ERA

G

GS

SV

IP

H

R

HR

BB

SO

GO/AO

AVG

SPR

2

0

2.43

39

0

27

40.2

17

11

3

28

62

0.62

0.126

MEM

0

1

4.50

15

0

8

14

6

7

2

13

15

4.00

0.143

Tot

2

1

2.96

54

0

35

54.2

23

18

5

41

77

1.09

0.130

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (4): Perez moves from our 8th-ranked prospect last year to 4th this season. Perez began the year at Double-A Springfield, having skipped high-A Palm Beach entirely, before finishing 2007 at Triple-A Memphis. The ‘heir-apparent' to Cardinals' closer Jason Isringhausen, he was considered the best reliever in the Double-A Texas League this season.

Perez features a mid-90s fastball with movement and a slider that has been described as ‘wicked'. Those pitches led to his average of nearly 13 strikeouts every nine innings. His main area of concern is his lack of control. Perez walked an average of almost seven batters every nine innings. He simply will not succeed at the Major League level with that lack of control. Perez will need to demonstrate that he has mastered his command issues before he permanently ascends to the Major League level.

Dustin Mattison (4): Perez did just what the Cardinals had hoped when they selected him in the supplemental first round in 2006 - move through the system quickly. Starting the year at Springfield, Perez blew his first save of the season and then converted his next 27 opportunities. The former Miami Hurricane was then promoted to Memphis where he was not nearly as dominant but was still able to notch eight saves. Perez has a big-league repertoire but his command is of concern. His 77 strikeouts in 54 innings is a sign of his dominance but his 41 walks is a not a very good sign.

Perez has an electric mid-90s fastball that can touch 97. His heater has superb movement and great sink. His slider may be an even better pitch; it is almost unhittable when he can command it. It will be interesting this spring if he is able to improve his command; if he does there is a chance he could break camp with the big club.

Ray Mileur (5): Major League scouts have told me that the Cardinals have two prospects, Colby Rasmus and checking in here at #4, Chris Perez. A dominant closer with a 90-95 MPH fastball, a very good slider and a good curve, Perez recorded 27 straight save opportunities, finishing 27 of 28 on the year at Double-A Springfield before getting promoted to Memphis.

Perez will start the season at Memphis where he struggled some with his control in September. The Cardinals will probably be looking for some help in the bullpen early in the season and Perez's stuff is already good enough that he'll likely see significant playing time in St. Louis in 2008.

Brian Walton (4): Perez' initial results against Triple-A right-handed hitters is a microcosm of his profile - 0-for-18 with one hit by pitch and four walks. In other words, he fits the textbook definition of "effectively wild" to a "T". Yet, the 22-year-old is still a work in progress.

I was a bit concerned over Perez' fall struggles with Team USA when he was eased out of the closer's role. At this point, I am attributing it to possible fatigue after having pitched a career-high in both games and innings in 2007. I am hoping Perez is applying himself in his off-season training.

I love Perez but suspect it will be better for him and for the Cardinals if he begins 2008 with Memphis. Perez can work on his consistency and command and prepare for a mid-season call-up and potential audition for the major league closer's job for 2009 and beyond.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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