Control the zone. Dominate the zone. We've all heard it before. Manager Scott Servais and pitching coach Pete Woodworth want their starters to throw strikes. Marcelo Perez, our #18 prospect, has his feet firmly in that camp.
The Mariners drafted Perez in 2022. Perez mainly came out of the Texas Christian University bullpen pounding the zone with a low 90s two-plane fastball with late life. His slider is the weapon in his repertoire, and the changeup is a work in progress. However, Perez continued to miss bats across two levels of the Mariner farm system this season.
At 5'10", Perez leans on athleticism to repeat his delivery, especially since he is now a starter. The diminutive right-hander spent most of the season fronting the Modesto Nuts rotation (15 GS), and he joined Everett for the playoff run, serving as an opener (3 GS, 6.2 IP). One thing to watch as Perez makes his way through the minor league is the walks. In Modesto, he fired 68 innings and issued 20 free passes, which amounted to 2.65 walks per nine. Once he joined the Aquasox, small sample size be damned, he hurled 6 2/3 innings walking four.
For Perez to stick as a starter, he must improve the secondary pitches, specifically the changeup. Additionally, he'll have to continue to pound the strike zone and minimize the walks. If not, he'll reach his floor as a middle relief option, leaning on his heater and slider to get outs in the middle innings.