In conjunction with my friend Colin Garner over at The Redbird Daily, we present to you our combined list of the Top 30 Prospects in the Cardinals organization! Every other day for the next two months, From January 28th until March 29th, we will be presenting you with an exhaustive evaluation on each of the top 30 prospects in the organization starting with prospect #30 and counting down to prospect #1. This is our combined list, not our own individual lists. For additional information on how we came these rankings, CLICK HERE. Without further delay, we present...
Prospect #14, SS Delvin Perez
Age To Start The 2018 Season: 19
Drafted In The 1st Round Of The 2016 Draft
Johnson City wRC+: 61 GCL wRC+: 94
Kyle Reis (Prospect #13 On Personal List, Prior To Combining Lists With Colin Garner)
Everyone of these prospect evaluations that I've done as part of this top 30 list has followed the same formula. They start with "what I like" about that particular prospects. Then, I tell you "what I don't like" about that prospect. I always finish with a player comparison because people love that stuff, regardless of how nonsensical of an exercise it is.
As much as I'd love to follow that template with Delvin Perez, I just can't do it. There's too much to cover and the lines with what to like and what to not like about him are so blurred that I believe it's best to give it to you in one piece.
Here's the deal with Delvin: he's a kid. Some 19 year olds are mature beyond their years and some are not. Dylan Carlson, who placed 18th on our top 30 list, is a perfect example. Carlson is a 19 year old ADULT.
A lot of that has to do with his upbringing, but the maturity as a human being is why Carlson spent all of 2017 with the Peoria Chiefs, a full season affiliate. That type of advanced assignment is a tough ask and one hell of a challenge for a teenager. By all accounts, it should have chewed up and spit out Carlson, but it didn't. Of Course Carlson struggled, but he held his own during his first full season in the organization. That's because Carlson goes about it "the right way", whatever that might mean to you. To me, it means that Carlson is a professional. Most teenagers aren't like Carlson.
Which brings us to Delvin Perez. Delvin is a child. He's what I would describe as "19 years YOUNG". He's a teenager in every implied sense of the word. He's a selfie-taking, temper tantrum-throwing, attention-seeking teenager.
I really want this next part to stick with you because it's the most important thing to take away from this evaluation: THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH DELVIN ACTING LIKE A TEENAGER.
Let's allow him (as if we had a say in the matter) to be a teenager. It's something that I catch myself criticizing him for all of the time. Truthfully, It's OK that he hasn't hit his stride yet. There's still plenty of time for that. Like I just said, I've held this against Delvin in the past, but I don't think I'm going to do that now. I'm going to decide to just let Delvin be Delvin. I'm not going to get excited about his really great 2016 debut or his horrible 2017 season as a whole. I think all of us should.
But make no mistake, it's the maturity issue that's going to hold Perez back if he doesn't eventually get over it. It won't be talent. He has bucket-loads of talent.
Eventually he's going to need to turn into a professional along the lines of Dylan Carlson if he's going to max out his skills. Otherwise, he's just going to be another 1st round disappointment: potentially the Cardinals biggest 1st round disappointment of my life time.
It's rare that the Cardinals are able to select such a naturally talented player in the draft. The Cardinals have had other 1st round picks that fizzled out before their careers even really started, but none as talented or as naturally gifted as Delvin.
And that's where I'm going to leave it with Delvin Perez. Let's call the 2018 season a fresh start for him and move forward. I really hope that's what he's doing. So, instead of going on and on about tools and fielding range and PED usage, I'm just going to embrace this potential prospect-rebirth. I say that we treat him that way moving forward. I really like this kid and he deserves a fresh start.
As always, these articles can't be done without Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. They are equally as reliant on the skills of Cardinalsgif's and NChill17. It's a pleasure to do this list with my friend Colin Garner at The Redbird Daily.
Thanks For Reading!