When you’re one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, it can be easy to rest on the laurels that got you to that plateau thus far. But that isn’t Eury Perez. Since he was signed by the Marlins for $200K as part of the 2019 international signing class, the 6’8” righty has been committed to perfecting his craft. Although he is possibly on the verge of becoming the youngest starting pitcher to crack the Marlins’ big league rotation, he isn’t stopping. And to help him this spring, he has the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner at his constant disposal.
Perez isn’t letting that opportunity go to waste. Walking around Marlins’ camp on the first official day of pitchers and catchers reporting this past Thursday, it is clear and evident: Perez and Sandy Alcantara are forming quite the relationship. In fact, the pair is nearly inseparable. The pair share lockers directly next to one another, they are part of the the same throwing group, and they are partners during their warmup sessions. The Alcantara/Perez connection runs so deep Perez will not jog back to the clubhouse without his teammate. During the offseason, after receiving his Cy Young award, Alcantara said in order to improve, minor leaguers “just need to watch.” Perez is doing that and then some.
“That’s his bestie. He’s showing him the way,” said one Marlins player development executive. “That’s not a bad best friend to have.”
Perez, who is about three inches taller, describes his relationship with Sandy as an ideal model of what he plans to become.
“What can I say? Sandy is an unbelievable pitcher, a Cy Young winner; that’s the ultimate goal,” Perez said through a translator. “Working with Sandy has got me very strong; working on my delivery for the whole offseason with him was great and hopefully we can keep working at the Major League level as well.”
“We’ve been working long toss, short toss, as well. He’s been telling me about my angle and how I throw, how I do my approach,” Perez continued. “Just little details we go over, that we’ve been practicing a lot, tossing a lot every day.”
Eury is using Sandy as a vital resource while he works to improve his game. His two main focuses on the field: consistency in his changeup and improvement on his newest pitch, a slider, which he began throwing last year.
“I’m working on my slider and also my changeup,” Perez said. “The team wants me to use these pitches more in games against batters. That’s part of the work we are doing right now; trying to make sure I can use those during the game.”
After throwing a bullpen on Thursday, Perez threw his first live BP today. Facing off against major leaguers including the reigning AL batting champ Luis Arraez. Major League batters were mystified by his stuff.
While it has yet to be determined exactly how much Perez will throw during game action this spring, according to one Marlins’ player development executive, “he will definitely get a good look”. Perez isn’t backing down from that opportunity.
“He’s in a really good spot and it’s exciting,” the same team source said.
A 19-year-old who will be pitching against guys six years older than him on average while not being far away from making his big league debut, Perez continues to write a movie script. The finished product is you won’t want to miss.