Juan Perez (perezju02)
Juan Carlos Perez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.
- School Western Oklahoma State College
- High School DeWitt Clinton High School
- Debut June 9, 2013
Juan Perez came to the majors in 2013.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Perez emigrated to the New York City area with his family as a young boy and went to high school there. He hit .465 with 37 homers and 102 RBI in junior college in 2008, after two years in an independent league (the La Caribe Baseball League). The San Francisco Giants, behind scout Todd Thomas, took the junior college star (he was one homer shy of the junior college record) in the 13th round of the 2008 amateur draft. He hit .244/.283/.383 as a 2B-OF for the 2009 Augusta Greenjackets in his minor league debut and stole 18 bases in 22 tries. The 2013 Giants Media Guide lists him as making the South Atlantic League postseason All-Star team but other sources do not confirm this.
Perez made good progress in 2010, batting .298/.337/.472 with 37 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers and 83 runs for the San Jose Giants. He was only 17-for-32 in steal attempts. Moving to the outfield full-time, he registered 17 assists and led California League outfielders with five double plays (tied with Jeremy Barfield). He was among the Giants minor league leaders in doubles (3rd behind Brandon Belt and Thomas Neal), triples (tied for third with Belt) and caught stealing (tied for third with Ehire Adrianza and Darren Ford). In the California League, he tied Jimmy Cesario for fourth in triples, was fifth in doubles and tied Adrianza for third in caught stealing (behind Francisco Peguero and Jay Austin). He doubled, homered and drove in two to win MVP of the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. He was just 6 for 37 in the Cal League playoffs but San Jose still won the league pennant.
With the 2011 Richmond Flying Squirrels, he produced at a .256/.303/.381 clip, with 10 triples and 22 steals in 28 tries. He hit .214 in the playoffs. He did tie Chris Rahl for the Eastern League lead in three-baggers, also finishing second among Giants farmhands in that department (behind Gary Brown). In the Dominican Winter League, he did well for the Aguilas Cibaenas, at .290/.320/.389. He was 9th in the loop in average (between Ricardo Nanita and Diory Hernandez), first in outfield putouts (361), second in doubles (10, one behind Hernandez) and second in steals (13, one behind Eury Perez).
Back with Richmond in 2012, Perez did far better than in 2011, hitting .302/.341/.441 with 26 doubles. He again had a poor steal rate (18 SB, 15 CS). His 13 assists were second among Eastern League outfielders and his 5 double plays were first. He was 8th in the EL in average (between Cesar Hernandez and Niuman Romero). He hit .280/.331/.440 for the 2012-2013 Aguilas and was among the Dominican League's leaders in doubles (12, tied for second, one behind Anderson Hernandez) and runs (27, tied for 4th with Eugenio Velez and Oscar Taveras). He started 2013 strong with the Fresno Grizzlies (.296/.331/.507, 9 HR, 12 SB, 2 CS, 35 R, 34 RBI in 57 G) while playing some shortstop as well.
He was called up to the majors when Ángel Pagán went on the disabled list. In his major league debut on June 9th, he started in center field and hit 7th in a 6-2 Giants win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was retired by Tyler Skaggs in the 1st, but singled in Hunter Pence in the 3rd. Skaggs retired him again in the 5th. In the 7th, he left for pinch-hitter Tony Abreu. He played 34 games in the majors that season, hitting .258 with 1 homer and 8 RBI. In Fresno, he hit .291/.323/.466 in 101 games, with 27 doubles, 10 homers and 50 RBIs. He made the Giants' team out of spring training in 2014, staying with them until mid-May while hitting only .050 in 21 games. After three weeks back at Fresno, he was back in the majors in early June, staying until early July and improving his batting average by 100 points, to .158. He spent another week with the Giants in August and was September call-up. When he was in San Francisco, he was mostly a back-up, only getting 100 at-bats in 61 games, for a batting line of .170/.224/.270, one homer and 3 RBIs. He was a lot more productive at Fresno, where he got to play regularly and hit .316 in 48 games, with 13 doubles and 7 homers for a .508 slugging percentage. The Giants made the postseason, but their outfield was hobbled, with CF Pagán out for the rest of the year, and LF Michael Morse diminished by another injury. He thus got to platoon in left field with converted first baseman Travis Ishikawa, getting the starts against lefthanders and also coming in as a defensive replacement in late innings. He was hitless in the Wild Card Game and in the Division Series, but went 2 for 5 with a run as the Giants eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS to reach the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. He was one of the heroes of the Giants' win in Game 5 on October 26th when he hit a two-run double to the top of the centerfield wall against Wade Davis in the 8th inning and later came to score, clinching a 5-0 win.
In the minor leagues, Perez became a friend of pitcher Raul Burgos, a fellow Dominican and member of the Giants organization, who told him about his tremendously talented younger half-brother, Oscar Taveras, who was a budding superstar. He became a friend of the young outfielder as well, and the two were on opposing teams in the 2014 NLCS. He learned of Taveras' tragic death a few days later, while in the dugout during Game 5 of the World Series, and broke down in tears. When he hit his game-clinching double a couple of innings later, he pointed to the sky, dedicating his effort to his fallen friend.
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Juan Perez gets emotional after death of friend Oscar Taveras", USA Today Sports, October 27, 2014.