Starting the week off with a double-header can set the table for a big one, and it ended up being a week for the history books for Texas Rangers first-year prospect Yanio Perez.
Signed last September out of Cuba, Perez came over with a third base and corner outfield profile. During two years in the Cuban National Series, he played first, second and third base as well as both left and right field. 32 starts produced third base as primary position.
For Low-A Hickory in 2017, the Crawdads have deployed him mostly in right field (11 games), followed by first base (five), left field (four) and then third base (twice).
A $1.1 million dollar signee, he joins a Rangers’ system packed with infielders (fellow Cuban Andy Ibanez, Anderson Tejada and Josh Morgan just to name a few) so his added eligibility over the diamond is a necessity to advance in a habitually crowded system, particularly saturated with international names
Always prudent to remember rule one of the minors, though: if you hit, they’ll find you a spot.
Prior to his late April outburst, Perez was hitting an honorable .259 with an admirable .377 OBP. But during the three game set with Rome and then four more versus the “Fighting Tebows” of Columbia, Perez was on base in 17 of 24 at-bats.
After just one home run in his first 16 appearances of 2017, he smashed five long balls last week, one per every 4.6 trips to the plate.
Excusing an error at first base on the 30th, it was a picture perfect performance for Perez and saw his Minor League stock appear on all radars, earning him South Atlantic League Offensive Player of the Week.
In a week where Yankees’ prospect Dustin Fowler hit for the cycle cherry topped by a walk-off homer and Nationals’ first-rounder Carter Kieboom launched three home runs in a game, it’s quite the accomplishment for Yanio Perez to stand far above the rest.