Kenyi Perez – Picture by Rich Biesterfeld
Kenyi Perez finished his rehab stint in Mesa last week and was activated by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. In his first outing, he threw 2.1 innings and struck out four and did not allow a run. Perez is in that first wave of young, big-armed international pitchers that the Cubs seem to be now growing on trees. But Perez could be a guy and let’s take a look at his story today.
Height – 6-foot-2
Weight – 185 at signing
Throws – Right
From – Tamayo, Dominican Republic
Age – 21
Signed as an IFA on September 21, 2020
The thing about stories is they don’t always start off with successes.
Perez’s first year in the Dominican Summer league was statistically not a success. But there’s more to developing a player than statistics. Perez had a 7. 91 ERA and struck out 46 in 38.2 innings. On the surface, that looks a bit rough. But when you’re dealing with guys who are pitching for the first time, especially at age 19, things are going to be rough.
Originally, Perez came into the organization as a starter. And every appearance he had in 2021 was as a starter. In 2022, he continued doing that in the Arizona Complex League.
Perez made 10 starts in 11 appearances. His stat’s were a little better in terms of ERA as he posted a 5.63 ERA in just 24 innings. And it’s not uncommon for guys in Arizona to just get 2 to 3 inning starts as the Cubs try and build up their arm strength through throwing, nutrition, and weight training. He struck out 30 in those 24 innings but what stands out is opponents did not square him up as they hit just .175 against him.
What undoes most young international pitchers are walks. Perez is no different as he walked 29 guys in 24 innings. It’s a little head scratching, but that’s what he did. In the Dominican, he walked 44 guys in 42 innings. So, if Perez is going to go anywhere in his career, he has to throw strikes. And sometimes it takes a while for guys that have done nothing but play showcase baseball, which is all about velocity rather than pitching.
This year, Perez is all about pitching. He was originally assigned to Myrtle Beach to start the year, but he began it on the injured list. He did play a little in extended spring training. But he began his season officially in the Arizona Complex League where he was used as a reliever and he was lights out. He had a 1.00 ERA in nine innings of relief work. He struck out 14 and walked zero. Yes, you read that right, zero!
After such a successful rehab stand, Perez was called up to Myrtle Beach, and his first outing was outstanding as he went 2 and 1/3 scoreless with 4 Ks, no hits, and 3 walks.
Perez is definitely going to be someone to watch every time he pitches the next two and a half months!