(photo courtesy of @cardinalsgifs)
Delvin Perez is 18-years old.
Delvin Perez was drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Excuse him if he has a rough patch here or there. The question is, will he learn from it?
For Perez, a rough patch may have begun Monday while the Johnson City Cardinals were in Kingsport, Tennessee facing off against the Mets’ affiliate there. Delvin Perez struck out in the 8th inning and threw his bat and helmet.
#Cardinals' No. 3 prospect Delvin Perez removed from the game after throwing his bat and helmet after striking out in the top of the 8th.
— Justin Rocke (@JustinRocke) June 27, 2017
This was a swinging strikeout so Perez’s anger was apparently not directed to the umpire, but rather at himself. Regardless, Johnson City Manager Roberto Espinosa saw enough and removed him from the rest of the game. While this may not be entirely shocking for many Cardinals fans, it’s not what you want to hear, especially the day after the big club’s shortstop, Aledmys Diaz, was optioned to the minor leagues.
Delvin Perez has not played since. and there have been questions about his attitude since he arrived in Johnson City. Those appear to be rising to the surface now.
For those that don’t remember or have been living under a rock for the last 12 months, Delvin Perez failed a drug test just days before the 2016 MLB Draft, a draft in which he was supposed to hear his name called within the first five picks. In the same article linked above, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball states that there have been character issues in the past and that has been a knock against Perez.
Something else that could be causing Perez’s poor attitude is his placement on the Johnson City Cardinals roster. Many people, including myself, thought Perez was likely to start the season with the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals Low-A affiliate, and two steps up from Johnson City. Instead, Perez spent the months of April, May, and parts of June in Florida working at the Cardinals spring training facility. Again, this is pure speculation.
So, what are the Cardinals planning to do about this?
An unnamed source tells me that former Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo is currently with the Johnson City Cardinals and has been working pretty closely with Delvin Perez. Oquendo had been working with Perez in Florida prior to the start of the Johnson City season. If there is a person in the organization who can help the 18-year old Perez, it’s Oquendo.
Delvin Perez has immense talent and has an all-star ceiling, but as hard as he has to work on the field, it appears he has to work as hard off the field. The Cardinals get killed for “The Cardinal Way”, but in this instance it could be what helps Perez turn it around.
Cardinals fans are rooting for him.