It is unbelievable, yet at the same time, completely appropriate: the Marlins have decided to assign right-hander Eury Pérez to the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos to start the 2022 season, per Craig Mish of SportsGrid. Mish tweeted the confirmation in response to Fish On The Farm’s Alex Carver. Christina De Nicola had implied earlier in the day on MLB.com that the team was going in that direction.
We’re likely still several days away from an official announcement—Blue Wahoos are holding their media day on Tuesday.
Yes. It’s done.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) April 1, 2022
Pérez was thoroughly dominant during his age-18 season with Low-A Jupiter and High-A Beloit. He allowed only 76 baserunners in his 78 innings pitched across 20 starts. His fastball velocity often sat in the mid-90s, complemented by an average-or-better curveball and changeup. He ranked fifth among Miami minor leaguers with 108 strikeouts in 2021 despite having his workload strictly monitored and lacking prior MiLB experience. Entering this spring, I ranked the Dominican righty as my No. 1 Marlins prospect.
Pérez’s prospect stock has only risen from there. He has gotten stronger without altering his mechanics, as Aram Leighton of Just Baseball detailed in a recent live look. He’s been matching up against major leaguers with solid results (via Geoff Pontes, Baseball America). Once Pérez demonstrates that he can get outs beyond the fifth inning, it will be difficult to deny that he’s anything less than a major league ace-in-waiting.
Opening Day for the Blue Wahoos is April 8. Pérez does not celebrate his 19th birthday until April 15. Based on last season’s player population, he will be approximately five-and-a-half years younger than the average age of his Double-A Southern League competition.
Once I have more time on my hands, I’ll attempt to find the last time a teenager played for the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate. It might be unprecedented. Sixto Sánchez was 20 for a large chunk of the 2019 Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and he overcame that to win the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year award. But this season, Pérez is going to be close to two years younger than Sánchez was back then.
During his guest appearance on The Offishial Show, Pensacola broadcaster Erik Bremer raved about Pérez’s “electric stuff” and “really, really exciting potential.”
Enjoy your front-row seat to the fireworks, Erik!
Shoutout to Isaac Azout who made the bold prediction that Eury will debut in the big leagues this season. That definitely cannot be ruled out on the heels of this development.