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Young Pitcher Symposium: Oliver Perez

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Oliver Perez
Similar Pitchers by Sim Score

  1. Pete Falcone (969)
  2. Moe Drabowsky (966)
  3. Sandy Koufax (965)
  4. Rube Bressler (965)
  5. Steve Trout (964)
  6. Vinegar Bend Mizell (962)
  7. John Henry Johnson (962)
  8. Balor Moore (961)
  9. Dave Stieb (961)
  10. Mike Witt (960)
Other Comparables
Mark Langston
Ken Holtzman
Billy Pierce
Mickey McDermott
Jim Merritt
Juan Nieves

Some very good names on this list, ranging from a Hall-of-Famer in Koufax to several really-good-but-not-great guys like Langston, Pierce, and Holtzman to some guys who burned out early. Perez is one of my favorite pitchers, but there are obvious questions about his durability and whether or not he can sustain a heavy workload.

Book grades on Oliver Perez

2002 Minor League Scouting Notebook: Grade C+, based on his pitching in Class A, with the notation that I was "optimistic about his chances to be a decent pitcher" but that I was worried about his long-term durability. His 2001 pitching in A-ball was marked by strong K/IP and H/IP rates, but his walk rate was mediocre. There was no real reason, either stathead or traditional, to think he would advance as quickly as he did. In their 2002 prospect book, Baseball America ranked Perez as the 10th-best prospect in the Padres farm system, with pitchers Dennis Tankersley, Jake Peavy, Mark Phillips, Eric Cyr, and Ben Howard all ranking ahead of him. Perez made it to the Majors much sooner than expected, making 15 starts for the Padres in 2002 with only a handful of innings in the upper minors under his belt.

Perez's experience, as well as that of Carlos Zambrano, show how Grade C+ pitching prospects can develop unexpectedly, leaving more-heralded guys in the dust.