October 5, 2022

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Pérez fans career-high 12 in dominant outing

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If you’ve only heard of Eury Pérez through his MLB the Show card, it’s time to start paying attention to him in real life: The 19-year-old put up videogame numbers in Double-A Pensacola’s 4-0 win over Biloxi at MGM Park on Friday night.

Pérez — the No. 39 prospect in baseball — fanned a career-high 12 batters over five scoreless innings, allowing one hit, hitting two batters and retiring the last eight batters he faced in order. He registered 20 swings-and-misses over 86 pitches, filling up the zone with 56 strikes.

“My breaking ball was breaking really good, changeup was excellent, and I was trying to do everything I could, my movement was really good and I was really excited to start,” said Pérez through interpreter and starting catcher Santiago Chávez. “Starting with warming up in the bullpen, everything was feeling great. I tried to do the same thing I was doing in the bullpen in the game.”

The Marlins’ No. 4 prospect fanned the first five batters he faced, setting down rehabbing third baseman Luis Urías, Brewers No. 2 prospect Joey Wiemer and No. 3 prospect Garrett Mitchell before hitting two batters. He settled down to get Cam Devanney to fly out to end the second inning.

Pérez fanned Ashton McGee to start the third inning before Gabe Holt doubled to record Biloxi’s lone hit of the night against the right-hander. He responded by fanning Urías and Mitchell on seven pitches, settling into a groove that saw him strike out four more in the fourth and fifth innings before his outing ended.

“I’m trying to enjoy the game and have some fun competing. I was trusting my stuff and that was it,” said Pérez. “I’m trying to go out there and execute. I feel like I can play at all levels, that’s what my mindset is.”

The 6-foot-8 hurler set his previous career high in strikeouts last season on Aug. 7 for Low-A Jupiter, when he fanned 11 batters in 4 2/3 innings against the Tampa Tarpons, allowing one unearned run.

Pérez rose rapidly through prospect lists in 2021 after fanning 108 batters in 78 innings with a 1.96 ERA between Single-A and High-A. He held opposing batters to a .158 batting average and a .517 OPS with a 12.5 K/9.

Things have not gone as smoothly for Pérez in his first taste of Double-A this season. He allowed three or more runs in each of his first three starts, and his ERA sat at 7.50 prior to Friday night’s dominant outing.

“He needed one start like this, because, I’m not going to call them bad starts, but his stuff is so good that we all knew he could do a lot better,” said Chávez.

On the year, Pérez has a 5.29 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP with 30 strikeouts to five walks. He’s fanned 41.1% of the batters he’s faced this season, using a fastball that touches 98 mph, a changeup that sits in the mid-80s with good fade and a curveball with velocity in the upper-70s.

“He’s locating very well with the fastball, he’s throwing really good breaking balls, his changeup as well,” said Chávez. “He’s got all plus pitches and he’s started to learn that this is not Low-A or High-A where you can get away with some pitches. He’s executing very well right now.”

The teenager has grown four inches since he was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000 in 2019. He uses his big frame to produce a smooth delivery and is part of a young core of Marlins pitchers expected to lead the franchise as they progress through its farm system in the coming years.

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