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Player Profile: Rafael Perez

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Born: 5-15-1982
Acquired: Minor-league contract, 1-25-02
Throws: Left

Background:

The Indians signed Perez out of the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2002; he pitched in the DSL that summer. In 2003, he pitched with Burlington and was named Pitcher of the Year in the Appalachian League. Since then, he's made his way up the organization at a rate of a level a year, with the exception of this season. After his promotion to Akron last June, he alternated between the rotation and the bullpen. The Indians added him to the 40-man roster last winter, and after a cup of coffee in April, he was called up to take the place of Scott Sauerbeck last month (6-9-06).

Stuff:

As far as I know, Perez is using just two pitches as a reliever:

(1) Fastball (~91-93 mph)
(2) Slider (best pitch)

Strengths:

Perez's slider was the reason he got to the majors so quickly, and makes him a natural fit to face left-handers. His delivery is all arms and legs, making it difficult for opposing hitters to pick the ball up.

Weaknesses:

As with most long and lanky pitchers, control is sometimes an issue, be it wild pitches or walks. He hasn't been a reliever for very long, and certainly hasn't been used as a LOOGY before, so he needs a longer period of time to warm up.

The Future:

Along with the rest of the bullpen, Perez's future is up in the air. The Indians plucked him from Akron's rotation to pitch in the bullpen, but I think he still has promise as a starter.