Martin Perez has been the consensus #1 prospect in the Texas Rangers’ farm system for quite some time now. Despite being just 21 years old, the left-handed pitcher from Venezuela has been discussed so often as a blue-chip prospect that Rangers fans have actually begun to grow impatient with his development. The wait to see Perez at the MLB level ended on Wednesday night. This was a debut that Perez has certainly thought about for many years, but I doubt he envisioned it going quite like this.
Staked to an 11-5 lead, Perez was asked to work the 8th inning for the Rangers against the Detroit Tigers. His task was to work through the tigers 8-9-1 hitters. He got his first MLB out on two pitches, a ground out to second base. After that, Perez’s night went single-single-strikeout-walk-error. In the end, he filled up the stat sheet with 0.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, and one wild pitch on top of that.
Perez’s call-up is almost certainly a temporary situation. The Rangers pitching staff has been decimated by injuries, with five of the team’s pitchers from the opening day roster currently on the disabled list. Perez is a potential starter for Saturday’s game, along with fellow greenhorn Justin Grimm. Grimm was roughed up his last outing. Grimm didn’t pitch Wednesday night, but that doesn’t signify that he is necessarily the Saturday starter. Perez threw just 20 pitches, which is about what he would have thrown in a between starts bullpen session.
The best case scenario might be for Perez to get the start in Saturday’s game. Now that he has the first appearance jitters out of his system, we may see better results from the prospect who once flashed three plus pitches. If nothing else, it will give Perez a chance to wash the bad taste out of his mouth that this first appearance may have left. Besides seeing four runs counted on his record, Martin Perez was also tackled by Prince Fielder.
Being bear hugged and brought to the ground by Fielder is the kind of thing that will leave an impression on a young man, both figuratively and literally. Here’s hoping that he has the chance to get back on the horse. It’d be a shame for him to go back to AAA with that being the image on loop in his memory of his first, but not last, big league experience.