Another outfielder working his way up the system is Dominican prospect Eury Perez, who hit .283 with 41 RBIs, 45 stolen bases in 119 games last season for Single-A Potomac. Now he is poised to make that next step.
But let’s not put too much pressure on the kid, says Nationals outfield coordinator Tony Tarasco. After all, he is only 21 years old and is still learning the game.
“Eury has all the tools,” Tarasco said. “He is another great ball player. I worry that because of our need for a center fielder that we looked to Eury quickly and wanted Eury to be more developed than he already was.
“Eury is climbing every level, he has had success at every level. He is moving at a good rate and a good pace, and he is learning at that same pace too. I think we (need to) let him take his own road.”
Tarasco said Perez is working very hard on the field to become a better player, but also working on being able to communicate well with the coaches and his teammates, an important part of the maturation of players as they transition to the United States from places like the Dominican Republic.
“He is a great center fielder and he is going to get better from playing,” Tarasco said. “(He is learning) to not make the same mistake twice and Eury is learning the way to communicate with his outfielders on the field.
“Eury used to be a shy kid who had a lack of English. He was very shy when it came to speaking to people, but now he is loosening up some. He speaks to me in English and he is working on it. That is becoming a part of his game.”
Tarasco said all of this experience and just being able to speak the language has helped bring Perez to a point where he can just relax and go out and play baseball. His next stop is likely in the Double-A outfield for the Harrisburg Senators.
“He is getting back the ability to go out and have some fun,” Tarasco said. “I know when people have fun playing, they play at the top of their game.”