Center field prospect Eury Perez continues to excel at Triple-A Syracuse since his call-up from Double-A Harrisburg.
Perez has played 25 games and is hitting .330 with a .374 on-base percentage for the Chiefs. Syracuse manager Tony Beasley said they have liked what they have seen from the speedy outfielder in his first month with the squad.
"He has been doing a nice job," Beasley said. "He definitely hasn't been overwhelmed offensively. He is a good hitter. He has done a good job hitting with two strikes so far. He has had a few at-bats where he has been overly aggressive. I would like to make sure to preach to him two strike discipline."
A point of emphasis with all leadoff hitters is getting them to be patient and learn to force the pitcher to show more than he wants. And getting a hit is not the only thing you can do to make it a successful at-bat.
"He should not be afraid to take a walk every now and then," Beasley said. "He is going to be the top of the order somewhere down the road. When he gets on base he is an absolute threat. He does a good job reading lefties and trying to to get a feel for what lefties are doing and their tendencies."
Perez has done a better job stealing bases at Syracuse. At Double-A, he was caught stealing 10 times. At Triple-A, Perez is already 12 of 14 on thefts.
"He can steal second and steal third base," Beasley noted. "He can really impact a game with his speed. He is a good contact hitter. He does put the ball in play. He hits fastballs early and most of the time he puts them in play. You could make an argument that is one of the reasons why he hasn't walked a lot."
Always a big question mark for center field is defense and how to use your feet and hands to make plays. Learning how to time your jumps to the ball is critical. Perez is getting to that point.
"He is a good defender," Beasley said. "He is probably better I would think going back right now then coming in. But he is getting better on that every day. I would like for him to be a little more aggressive on some balls and take a few some chances on soft liners. Those are things we have talked about."
But Beasley said this is a good thing that Perez is learning this now. He is still a young prospect and being at Triple-A will help accelerate the learning curve for him right now.
"He is a young kid, 22 years old," Beasley said. "They are in Triple-A but they are developing. He is not polished by any means. But, man, he is an exciting young player that has a really bright future ahead of him and a lot of upside.
"The sky is the limit. His head is on straight. He plays hard. He runs everything out hard. He seems like he has fun. He is definitely a fun player to watch. He is the type of guy you just enjoy watching play because there is always an anticipation of something that is going to happen."
Perez would be fun to watch patrolling the Nationals Park outfield in September and to see how he does leading off in a major league lineup. With this kind of recent play, that opportunity could present itself in the next few weeks. More likely, however, is the chance to see him play for the Nationals' entrant in the Arizona Fall League starting Oct. 9.