Each year there are intriguing MLB First-Year Player Draft prospects and this year is no different. One of the more fascinating prospects is prep third baseman and right-handed pitcher Joe Perez.
A Florida native, Perez is one of the top two-way players in the 2017 draft and has a chance to get selected in the early rounds of the draft.
Ranked as the 57th-best prep draft prospect by Baseball America, Perez doesn’t have a preference on what position he plays, but considers third base as his primary position.
“I really enjoy doing both,” said Perez what his primary position is. “But, I’d have to say with just starting pitching about a year and a half ago, I’d say I’m a little bit more experienced in the field.”
An above-average power hitting position player, Perez also has an electric arm on the mound. A 6-foot-3, 208-pound right-hander, Perez has a four-pitch mix, featuring a mid-90s fastball, a sharp breaking slider, a curveball and changeup.
If Perez decides not to go straight into professional baseball this June, he will attend the University of Miami in the fall. Perez committed to Miami last August and will be a two-way player for the Hurricanes.
“As soon as I toured Miami, I fell in love with everything they had to offer,” Perez said. “All the awards for academics and sports they’ve been awarded just stood out to me.”
Perez planned on attending the University of South Florida, after committing to the school following his sophomore year. But, after thinking about his decision more, Perez realized it wasn’t the right fit for him, he said.
“My coaches and my parents were really pushing for it because of the new coaching staff,” said Perez of USF. “They (USF coaching staff) were really good and popular because they turned around a previous program. When they got hired at South Florida and gave me the offer, everyone was telling me I should go for it.
“Finally, over the summer, I thought about it and it wasn’t what I wanted. I decommitted and at the end of summer I toured Miami and that’s when I made the decision.”
With two options in front of him, Perez isn’t worried about the future. Instead, he’s only focused on his high school season, where he will see time at the hot corner and in the starting rotation, after being the team’s closer last year.
He’s spent the off-season getting stronger and refining his pitches in hopes of leading his team to a memorable season.
“We won state last year, but I’m setting my goals higher,” Perez said. “We are looking to win a national championship.”
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