Our beloved Sox have fallen victim to a brain disease that apparently causes both mental and physical impairment. given that, I thought it might be time to dive deep into the farm and see what's hanging around down there!
There's been a lot of negativity around this team the past month — and rightfully so — so I felt it might be best to focus my energy on something positive. The Sox system has a lot to like depth wise, and some of the most intriguing guys are buried way down there. Today's prospect is Luis Perales!
Perales is about 6'1. I've seen him listed at 170 and 160, so let's call it 165. You'd think there's room for projection there, however there is less than you might assume. Looking at his frame, he lacks the broad shoulders to put on much weight without blowing up but he does look very loose and athletic from my very limited looks at him. It's a standard three quarters delivery that I think will require some refinement. He's got this gathering step he takes form his starting position at the middle of the rubber and finishes with a fun little right leg kick. That works for Rich Hill, but there's only one Dick Mountain. I've not had a great look, but he seems strong and lean through his chest and neck. Loose movements, and definitely not a high effort release.
While it's not a high effort release, the fastball nets high effort results. At just 17 he was around 95 but lately he's been up to 98 with very nice shape on the pitch. Command is very advanced for his age according to some reports but I don't even care about that. He doesn't turn 20 until next April. He throws 98. That's really great.
Shows some natural feel for the pitch, which is surprising given the amount of time he's spent not pitching since signing in '19. Multiple reports saying it could be a plus pitch at some point with a little refinement and some reps. Beautiful shape and great spin.
Perhaps more of a comment on how advanced the other two pitches are, the Sox are focusing on developing this pitch right now. That's code for he doesn't throw one yet, but his feel for pitching lends itself to at very least a serviceable change. I've only seen him throw fastballs and if he can keep that arm action on the change then I like his chances.
Did I mention he throws 98 and is 19? Have I said anything about how advanced he is for 19? There's a lot to like here, but there's also a lot to fill in. the raw stuff is there. Big old country fastball with a sharp curveball and the command he's shown has been really good. He struck out 25 compared to 8 walks in 16 innings this year and I suspect will be heading to Salem before too long. Maybe next year? I favour moving these guys quickly. Refinement comes from seeing competition commensurate with your own level of talent.
There's so much unknown that it's hard to say there's "bad" here, but the fact he missed a full year due to injury and wasn't pitching regularly stateside until this year. That missed development time may ultimately hurt him and limit what he can become workload wise. He's also not the prototypical build for a pitcher. He's close to it, but I like my pitchers tall and strong. My primary concern is two years of almost no pitching. He looked good this year, but his real test will come at the higher levels.
On the high end, assuming the stuff stays as is and the command keeps developing along with that third pitch, Perales could be in our top ten by next pre-season. He has the raw stuff that scouts dream on and I'd actually spin his lack of changeup into a positive. Most kids throw a bad version of an unsophisticated changeup but Perales said fuck that and lived on benders and heaters. Having the chance to learn at 19 how to throw the changeup from a team of pro coaches is sort of ideal for this type of prospect who clearly has the aptitude.
So again, on the high end? He could be a middle rotation starter on a good team. I don't think he'll ever eat enough innings to be a true 1 or 2 but he might be able to give you enough to slot in at 3.
Low end? He never gets stronger than he is now and the changeup doesn't come. That leaves his best case scenario a SIRP and one with a two pitch mix at that. His fastball can carry him to a point, but a good-not-elite heater with a plus breaking ball smells like sixth inning mop up duty to me.
The most realistic projection is a good high leverage reliever. I think his frame is going to limit him to a bullpen role, but his feel for pitching leads me to believe he can add a good changeup while still refining the breaking ball. That would mean two plus pitches with an average changeup, which is about as much as you can hope for with a prospect like this. Massive variance of outcomes here, but he is one to keep an eye on as he moves up.