Juan Perez Adds Versatile Element to San Francisco Giants’ Bench
On Friday night, the San Francisco Giants were forced to do the inevitable and place Angel Pagan on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to deal with a strained hamstring. While this decision means that the club will be without its starting center fielder for at least the next several games, it did allow the Giants to recall Juan Perez, a player who could be one of the most dynamic bench pieces that the Giants have had in years.
The 26-year-old Perez, a center fielder by trade, is also capable of providing great defense at both of the corner outfield positions. After being exclusively an outfielder since 2010, Perez has also resumed playing in the infield this year in an effort to make him a more valuable utility player. When playing the infield for the Giants, Perez is most likely to be used at third base, where he has played 34 games for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies with a .942 fielding percentage. His ability at the middle infield positions is more of a question mark, as Perez has eight errors in his first 37 chances at shortstop this year. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Perez could be used at second base, though he has not played that position since the 2009 season with the Class A Augusta GreenJackets.
If he is given an ample opportunity to show his skills, Perez could become one of the most efficient utility players in the major leagues. He is certainly the most versatile player the Giants have had in a long time, likely since Pedro Feliz left following the 2007 season. If Perez sticks, he would give the Giants sort of a two-for-one deal, as he could fill both the backup infielder role that has been filled by Nick Noonan, and the fifth outfielder spot that has been left vacant for most of the season.
As part of the offensive game, Perez provides two elements that the Giants are lacking in the form of right-handed power and spectacular speed. He is a solid hitter, possessing a .279 career minor league batting average, and Bochy stated that he can expect to receive some starts versus left-handed pitchers. If Bochy uses him correctly, Perez should be a player who is very fun to watch.