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Eury Perez, former Nationals prospect, debuts with Yankees

Eury Perez takes batting practice with the Nationals

Eury Perez takes batting practice with the Nationals in 2013. Credit: AP

The No. 20 preseason prospect in the Nationals' system made his 2014 debut on Wednesday.

In pinstripes.

Eury Perez made his first appearance as a Yankee as a defensive replacement in right field during the eighth inning of a 9-5 loss to Baltimore.

The Yankees claimed Perez, a natural centerfielder, from the Nationals on Sept. 22 in a little-noticed move. Washington had designated Perez for assignment after claiming infielder Pedro Florimon from the Twins. The Yankees DFA'd lefthanded reliever Josh Outman to make room on their roster for Perez.

Ironically, the man Perez replaced in right on Wednesday, Antoan Richardson, is a similar player. Both are speedy on the bases and defensive whizzes in the outfield with the ability to hit for a good average.

The primary difference? Richardson will turn 31 on Oct. 8. Perez is 24.

Baseball America ranked Perez as the Nationals' No. 20 prospect before the start of the 2014 season, noting that, "his game still is built around double-plus speed, a tool that sometimes draws 80 grades." A scouting grade of 80 is the highest mark possible. Baseball America also cited a "55 arm" in the outfield and a "quick righthanded swing".

But both Baseball America and The Minor League Baseball Analyst agree that Perez is best suited for backup duty. The Analyst, while crediting him as "one of the best bunters in the minors", also says that Perez "continues to struggle with plate patience and an inability to draw walks."

Perez batted .310 with a .371 on-base percentage in 67 minor leagues games this season, mostly with Triple-A Syracuse of the International League. Signed out of the Dominican Republic by Washington, Perez made his pro debut at 17 years old. He's a .305 hitter with a .360 OBP in eight minor league seasons. Perez has stolen 268 bases and been caught 74 times, a 78.3 percent success rate. He swiped 20 bags in 23 attempts in 2014.

He has two hits in 13 major league at-bats, all with the Nationals in 2012 and 2013. He's stolen four bases in the majors and never been caught.

New York Sports