The Phillies are reportedly “favorites” to ink 16-year-old Venezuelan catching prospect Ricardo Perez, praised by scouts for having “plenty of upside.”
Amid uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of J.T. Realmuto being a Philadelphia Phillies catcher, the organization reportedly is looking internationally to support its depth at the position.
According to MLB Pipeline, the Phillies are considered the “favorites” to sign youth Venezuelan catching prospect Ricardo Perez.
Described as a “toolsy left-handed-hitting catcher” with a “plenty of upside,” Perez, 16, ranks eighth on MLB Pipeline’s 2020 Top 30 International Prospects list. Perez is listed as being 6-foot-0, 180 pounds, opposed to Realmuto’s 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.
Perez Scouting Grades (20-80 grading scale)
- Hitting: 55
- Fielding: 55
- Running: 50
- Power: 50
- Arm: 55
Perez is reportedly considered one of the top catchers out of both Venezuela and the entire international class; he has been often compared offensively and definsively to fellow catching prospect Jesus Galiz, who has been linked as the respective “favorite” for the New York Yankees to sign.
Pros of Perez’s offensive skills include having “above-average bat speed” and ability to make consistent hard contact. MLB Pipeline writes, “[Perez] has a chance to be an above-average hitter and already shows flashes of power to all fields,” and that he “has a chance to make an impact on both sides of the ball.”
Behind the plate, Perez has received praise for his “receiving skills, solid footwork and quick release,” albeit showing “average arm strength and accuracy.” As Perez matures, he is expected to improve the latter two attributes.
Being only 16 years old, Perez does not have much in-game, high-import games of experience, but he did recently impress scouts playing in Venezuela’s Liga Central de Desarrollo. For example, in 11 games in 2019, he hit .472 across 36 at-bats, slugging 11 singles, six doubles, seven RBI, four walks and just five strikeouts. The league is considered one of the Venezuela’s top leagues for prospects.
Even if Perez does sign with the Phillies as expected, we would not see him in red pinstripes for another six-to-seven years at least. If Realmuto is re-signed long-term, perhaps Perez could succeed him.