Nats' top prospects - No. 8: Eury Perez

Greetings from Alabama where it snowed here in Birmingham for the first time ever! (That is the rumor.) I am here with George Washington basketball as they take on Alabama-Birmingham tonight.

As we did in Oregon last week, how about all the major league ball players from Alabama? Okay, so that would take awhile.

The list is much longer than in Oregon, headed by all-time players like Hank Aaron, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith, Bo Jackson, George Foster and Willie Mays plus former Nats outfielder Josh Willingham (Florence, Ala.). Also, working his way to the majors is current Hagerstown outfielder Destin Hood of Mobile. Pretty amazing list in Alabama at baseball-almanac.com.

We continue our look at Baseball America's Top 10 Nationals prospects with No. 8, outfielder Eury Perez. He moves up three spaces from No. 11 last season.

Playing center field, 20-year old Perez batted .299 with 17 doubles, five triples, three homers and 42 RBIs, including 64 stolen bases in 131 games for Hagerstown. In the Dominican Winter League, he batted .345 with three doubles, a triple and five RBI, including 21 stolen bases in 37 games.

We check in again with Aaron Fitt of Baseball America regarding Perez and Fitt loves his potential but says he still has a long way to go.

"His season was a tale of two halves," Fitt said. "When the short season started, they thought he was going to be sent back down from Hagerstown to Vermont after a terrible first half. Then, Perez turned the corner.He made some adjustments. He still needs to become more disciplined at the plate."

Fitt thinks the Nats are looking for Perez to find a way to become more consistent at the plate.

"They want to see him get on base more," Fitt said. "He seemed to be doing that in winter ball. That is encouraging. He has got the speed that you love. He has really elite speed. He has got good base running instincts."

In the outfield, game reps will help Perez take advantage of that top of the line speed, according to Fitt.

"He is not a finished product defensively," Fitt cautions. "He does a pretty good job of playing shallow and going back on the ball. I think he has got everything you want in a center fielder/lead off guy if he can get on base more. That is no guarantee. He has a chance."

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