Nov 24, 2013, 9:29 AM EDT
Age on Opening Day 2014: 23
How acquired: Signed as free agent, 2007
MLB service time: 70 days
2013 salary+bonuses: N/A
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2020
2013 Stats: 9 G, 8 PA, 8 AB, R, H, SB, 3 SO, .125 BA, .125 OBP, .250 OPS, 0.0 WAR
2013 analysis: Eury Perez made his major league debut in 2012 as a September call-up, and this past season earned two stints in Washington. The first was in May after Jayson Werth went down with a hamstring injury. The second was in September when the Nationals expanded their roster. Both times he saw limited action, mainly as a pinch runner due to his speed.
Perez only has 13 plate appearances to his name across three MLB tours. He hasn’t quite broken in with the Nats at the big league level, despite an impressive career of seven seasons in the minors. Perez holds a .305 batting average through 632 minor league games dating back to 2007. He has posted 23 stolen bases in 2013, and at least 40 of them each season from 2010 to 2012.
2014 outlook: Perez is one of the fastest players in the Nationals’ organization, is a legitimate contact hitter as proven in the minors, and has potential as an outfielder. So why, exactly, hasn’t the 23-year-old found a role in the majors? The likely reason is the Nationals’ high expectations right now coupled with a loaded outfield. Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth aren’t going anywhere, and that leaves only one spot for any sort of competition. This year the Nats opted to go with experience in center field – and a left-handed bat – in Denard Span. The idea was to compete for a championship and Perez wasn’t ready to be that guy.
Perez has been in limbo within the system over the last year or so, and his lack of a high ceiling may explain it. Brian Goodwin is thought to have more potential and also bats left. Even though he hasn’t produced like Perez in the minors, and though both are the same age, he is a former first round pick and has stood out in the Arizona Fall League. Michael Taylor is also drawing high praise from members of the front office, he’s another young center fielder who was just added to the 40-man roster. The best-case scenario for Perez is earning a bench role out of spring training. Maybe this is the year he breaks through.
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