Eury Perez, a 22-year-old, San Luis, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic-born Washington Nationals' outfielder was 8 for 24 with four runs scored and two stolen bases before he was added to the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic roster in early March in place of New York Yankees' OF Melky Mesa, who decided to stay in camp with NY and compete for one of the outfield spots with the Yanks. While the Nats' OF prospect was away at the WBC, Perez was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse where he finished the 2012 Minor League season before being called up to make his MLB debut with Washington last September.
In 127 games and 569 plate appearances between the Gulf Coast League's GCL Nats, the Double-A Harrisburg Senators and Triple-A Chiefs, Perez posted a .314/.341/.361 line with 19 doubles, three triples and 51 stolen bases in 65 attempts last year. After six seasons in the Nats' system, Perez had something of a breakout campaign, but as Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told MLB.com's Joey Nowak upon learning that Perez would be representing the Dominican Republic in the WBC, the speedy outfielder hasn't reached his full potential just yet:
"'He's got more at-bats than anybody. … I think he's done good. He's a good young hitter with talent, good young player. It's all him learning about himself. I think this has been a great experience for him, as was last year. He had a good year in Triple-A, but he's still got a higher ceiling.'"
Johnson also told reporters, as Mr. Nowak's colleague MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote in a recent Q&A with readers, that he was concerned with how little Perez was playing with the Dominican team. "Davey Johnson expressed concern about outfielder Eury Perez," Mr. Ladson wrote. "Perez is not getting playing time in the Classic, and Johnson would like for him to get at-bats once he returns to Minor League camp." Though Perez hasn't gotten the ABs the Nationals would probably like him to get, he did manage to make an impression with his defense. Watch Perez track down a long fly ball from Carlos Beltran in an earlier WBC matchup between tonight's World Baseball Classic finalists from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico (Perez's catch is at the 1:24 mark):
Eury Perez is the last Washington National left in the WBC, and though he hasn't been playing much you might get a chance to watch the potential future Nats' outfielder in action live from AT&T Park if you tune in to see who wins the third installment of the international tournament. After that it's back to minor league camp for Perez and then on to Triple-A Syracuse for his first season starting with the Nats' top affiliate. Will Perez play tonight in San Francisco? Who's Watching the WBC finals to find out?