Up next on our top 50 is a young man that could very well be the most complete catcher in the Jays’ minor league system, which is saying a lot…
#8: Carlos Eduardo Perez
Catcher / 20 years old / 6′0″ 193 lbs
Born: October 27, 1990 in Valencia, Venezuela
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School: N/A
Signed By: The Toronto Blue Jays as a non-drafted free agent in 2008
Jersey Number: #3 for the Auburn Doubledays
- 2010 New York-Penn League Mid-Season All-Star
- 1st in runs (44), hits (70), triples (8), RBI (41), total bases (103), AVG (.298), and OBP (.396)
- Tied for 1st in games played (66)
- 2nd in at-bats (235), walks (34), and OPS (.834)
- 4th in SLG (.438)
- 5th in doubles (11)
- Tied for 5th in stolen bases (7)
- 7th in strikeouts (41)
- 8th in home runs (2)
The Auburn Doubledays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Tyler Waldron
A few Doubledays hitters appear in this near 10-minute clip, with Perez appearing in three at-bats. In his first at-bat, seen at 1:01, Perez fouls off a few pitches and grounds out. In his second at-bat, seen at 5:00, the ump seems to love calling some inside strikes on Perez which results in a swinging strikeout that forces Perez to run it out to first base. In his third at-bat, seen at 8:51, Perez hits the ball sharply on the ground that the shortstop bobbles, allowing Perez to take first base. This clip shows Perez’s heads-up baserunning ability too, where he advances to second when his teammate gets caught up in a run-down between third and home.
Extra information and previous experience:
Signed as a non-drafted free agent when he was only 17 years old, Carlos Perez became familiar with the Blue Jays organization very quickly. He managed to get in 58 games in the Dominican Summer League, and the results were quite impressive.
At the plate over those 58 games, Perez hit .306/.459/.378 overall, and had more hits than games played. He showcased his tremendous plate discipline, especially for his age, by having almost the same amount of walks (52) as he did games played (58). Defensively, Perez allowed only 1 passed ball and threw out 34 of 99 base stealers (34%), but he also made 10 errors.
The Jays obviously liked what they saw from Perez in 2008 – naming him the R. Howard Webster Award winner (MVP) in the DSL – so they opted to have him start the next chapter of his professional career in the United States with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in Florida.
He continued to show his maturity with the bat and behind the plate for his age, hitting .291/.364/.433 overall in 43 games. Despite appearing in 15 fewer games than he did in the Dominican Summer League the year before, Perez actually hit more doubles and triples, and also managed to hit his first professional home run. Perez has a tremendous feel for hitting, his bat stays in the strike zone for a long time, and he exudes great poise when he has two strikes on him.
Perez was impressive yet again in the batter’s box, but where he really was a shining star in 2009 was actually behind the plate. On top of cutting his errors in half, Perez threw out an unbelievable 49% of base stealers. He consistently uses his plus arm to make strong, accurate throws in 1.9 seconds. He improved his receiving and blocking skills considerably – as he did not allow one passed ball all season – but those skills could still use more polish overall.
The accolades started to roll in for Perez after his 2009 season, as Baseball America ranked him as the No. 5 prospect in the Gulf Coast League and he received another Webster award for being the Jays’ organizational rookie ball MVP.
Unsurprisingly, Perez earned a promotion to Auburn for the 2010, where he actually improved in a lot of areas offensively. He finished the year with a .298/.396/.438 slash line, 2 home runs, 41 RBI, and 34 walks in 66 games. He hit a whopping 8 triples, and added 11 doubles for good measure. He credits his success at the plate to a patient approach, and once he gets his pitch to hit that he patiently waits for, he squares up the ball and sometimes sends hard line drives to the gaps.
Defensively, Perez continued to work on his receiving, developing a solid rapport with his pitching staff, and threw out 36% of base stealers. He has very quick feet, soft hands, quick releasing arm, and advanced game-calling skills. His 13 passed balls in 44 games was a bit of a concern, so it’s a testament to how he must continue to work on his blocking skills more as he moves up the minor league ladder as there will be a lot more movement on pitches.
Perez possesses great fundamentals and instincts, especially on the base paths, which has caused some people to feel that Perez has the best baserunning instincts in the entire Blue Jays’ system. One of the Jays’ minor league coaches actually talked about how Perez almost starts running to first before he’s even made contact with the ball, sometimes thinking triple before he’s even seen the pitch leave the pitcher’s hand. His stolen base success rate hasn’t been very high (16-for-29, 55%), but that should improve as he gets older and becomes more confident when attempting to steal.
Auburn Doubledays manager had this to say to Baseball America about Perez at the end of the 2010 season:
“He catches, he throws, he blocks balls very well. He’s got a major league approach to hitting, he hits the ball to all fields, and he has very good speed for a catcher. Unlike most catchers that are below-average to well below-average, he’s got tremendous instincts on the bases, reads balls in the dirt really well, he’s aggressive first to third, makes the turn well at all bases. He does everything naturally.”
The accolades continued to roll in for Perez at the end of 2010, as he was named the No. 1 prospect in the New York-Penn League and No. 8 prospect in the Blue Jays’ system by Baseball America, as well as capturing his third straight organizational Webster/MVP award from the Blue Jays.
Going forward, Perez will continue to hone his craft defensively behind the plate, and possibly add some size to his frame to reach his gap power potential, and many forget that he just turned only 20 years old.
Expected 2011 Team: Lansing Lugnuts
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: MLB everyday catcher
Overall, the Jays have something really special in Perez. A catcher that has the potential to hit for a high average, exude stellar plate discipline, play above average defense, average to above-average speed on the base paths, and the chance of hitting 10-15 home runs should he reach his power potential? That’s one of the best catching prospects in the game today.