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Opening Day Countdown: Hernan Perez #14

Just two more weeks until baseball!

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The claimed Hernan Perez off waivers from the Tigers last year well in advance of the Carlos Gomez trade, and therefore well in advance of the full on rebuilding effort. I remember at the time being rather intrigued by the move. Perez had been ranked the Tigers 8th best player under the age of 25 by Baseball Prospectus and their 9th best prospect by FanGraphs. The profile wasn't strong, but with the options the Brewers had at the time, it seemed as though he might be able to play his way into a starting role. That wouldn't become the case, but there's still a chance he plays his way back into a role with the major league team.

The biggest knock against Perez was his lack of power. FanGraphs gave him a 35 grade on raw power. That's well below average. He was also dinged for an aggressive approach. But despite that he never struck out much, and even walked a little bit. With average speed and a strong throwing arm he was at least a capable infield defender. It's probably enough to serve as a back-up middle infielder someday.

Right now he's competing with Yadiel Rivera and Jake Elmore for that job. Like Elmore, Perez is on a minors deal and would need to be placed on the 40-man roster to make the team. That's not an insurmountable obstacle. But it is just another barrier to entry. It would be much easier for the Brewers to simply give the job to Rivera and have Perez play at AAA. That might even be what's best for Perez.

He turns 25 in just a few days. That's not very old, even for a prospect. He can afford another season at AAA to work on his swing. The chances that he turns into a better version of himself are probably pretty slim at this point. But if his upside is utility, then spending that time isn't going to hurt anything.

I think the chances are strong that Hernan Perez starts out in AAA this year. But I also think there is a reasonable chance he spends some time with the major league club. He certainly hasn't impressed in his time with the Brewers. But the talent that made him interesting is still there. He almost certainly just a utility player. But he could be a good one. That's not exciting, but teams need those players too.