Detroit Tigers No. 1 prospect Franklin Perez working hard in Instructional League

The headliner in the Justin Verlander trade, RHP pitcher Franklin Perez, is working hard and turning heads at the Detroit Tigers Instructional League in Lakeland, Florida. Perez was acquired in the last minute deal with the Houston Astros at the August 31 waiver trade deadline, coming to the Tigers along with C Jake Rogers and OF Daz Cameron.

Perez immediately became the Tigers No. 1 prospect and is currently the 40th overall prospect in baseball. Perez did not have an opportunity to pitch for any of the Tigers minor league teams because he was acquired so late in the year, but reports out of the Instructional League is that he’s turning heads and is completely focused. The Tigers need Perez to be a quick study as they had the worst pitching staff in team ERA in 2017.

Perez headlines a group that includes former first-round picks Beau Burrows and Matt Manning in a pitcher-heavy farm system. Right now it seems as though the Tigers plan with Perez is to start him in AA Erie and hope that he pitches well enough next season to earn a promotion to AAA Toledo. But, with prospects, we know that sometimes the final product does not meet the hype. Remember Matt Anderson or even Bruce Rondon? Franklin, however, offers a lot more promise.

From Baseball Prospectus.

Perez’s pitchability is there and he seems wise beyond his years. The fastball has ticked up and his upper body has filled out nicely. It doesn’t hurt that he has enormous legs either. At just 19 years old, there’s some work to do in terms of developing a more consistent feel for the curveball, and the slider is lagging behind, too. But there is serious two-plane potential with the slider, and if Perez can develop it he’s going to scare many hitters with the potential for four plus pitches. Even armed with a plus fastball, curveball, and changeup, Perez appears to be a solid mid-rotation starter.

Far from a finished product, Perez looks like he could be the real deal. Only time will tell. For all of us Justin Verlander fans, we all hope that Franklin Perez is the real deal.