The New York Yankees signed Freicer Perez as an international free agent to a minor league deal worth only $10,000 back on February 12, 2015.
Since then, the towering right-hander has developed into one of the more intriguing under-the-radar prospects in the Yankees’ pipeline.
Just over three months after signing with the New York Yankees, the Dominican Republic native was assigned to the Dominican Summer League Yankees as a teenager, and he began his pro career with a bang.
In his rookie campaign, Perez pitched to an impressive 7-3 record with a 3.23 ERA, 68 strikeouts and 17 walks over 69.2 innings pitched in the Dominican Summer League. He did surrender 25 earned runs, but after just 15 starts, the Yankees realized this tall scrawny kid from Santiago de los Caballeros had a ton of potential.
Perez spent the following season stateside with the Staten Island ‘Baby Bombers’ where he encountered a bit of a setback. In 13 New York-Penn League starts, Perez went 2-4 with a 4.47 ERA, 49 strikeouts, and 25 walks. With a decline in strikeouts and an increase in walks, Perez’ 2016 performance raises a red flag regarding his control, but it could also just be the 20-year old trying to adjust to pitching in the United States for the first time in his young career
Freicer Perez has an arsenal of pitches that includes an electric fastball, a slider, a change-up and a curveball. His fastball sits in the 94-97 mph range, and he’s even touched 99 mph on occasion. His off-speed changeup and curveball are his next best pitches after his fastball, and his slider is a work-in-progress. The most interesting thing about Perez is that he hasn’t even fully grown into his frame yet, so his fastball velocity is expected to increase as he continues to develop and bulk up.
If all goes according to plan for the young 20-year old, he’s likely to start the 2017 season in either the Charleston RiverDogs or Staten Island Yankees rotation. If he proves he can adjust to playing in the states, we might even see Perez promoted to the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees by seasons end. Look for him to continue to start in the middle of the rotation and focus on his slider in 2017. If he develops as good a slider as scouts project him too, Perez will solidify that he has all the tools to make him a solid major league starter one day in the not-so-distant future.