The Cincinnati Reds have acquired right-handed pitcher Héctor Pérez in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon. The team announced that they will send a player to be named later or cash to complete the deal.
Héctor Pérez made his Major League debut this year with the Blue Jays. He only pitched in one game, allowing two earned runs in 1.2 innings. The now 24-year-old spent all of the 2019 season as a starting pitcher in Double-A New Hampshire where he made 24 starts, along with two relief appearances, throwing 121.1 innings with a 4.60 ERA, 67 walks, and 117 strikeouts.
Originally signed by the Houston Astros, Héctor Pérez was traded to Toronto at the trade deadline in 2018 along with Ken Giles and David Paulino in the deal that sent Roberto Osuna to Houston. He had entered that season as the Astros #7 prospect according to Baseball America. He’s fallen down the rankings a little bit since that 2018 season, though. Pérez was rated as the Blue Jays 19th prospect after the 2018 season, and was unranked following the 2019 season.
When he’s at his best and throwing strikes, Héctor Pérez can touch 99 MPH with his fastball that he will mix with a potentially above-average splitter that works in the low-to-mid 80’s. He will also show a slider in the 90 MPH range, but it’s been inconsistent in it’s shape over the years.
With a history or control problems it would seem that Héctor Pérez is likely a better fit in the bullpen than in the rotation unless he makes strides forward in his ability to consistently throw strikes. A more permanent move to the bullpen may allow him to pick up some extra velocity on his fastball and take it from a pitch that works in the mid-90’s to one that works a little higher than that. There’s also a chance that it could let him focus more on one of his two secondary offerings, which could develop it (whichever one) into a more consistent offering. The ability to find the strikezone would still need to improve a little bit if he’s going to find success in the big league bullpen, but you can get away with lesser control as a reliever than as a starter.