The Cincinnati Reds announced this afternoon that they acquired left-handed pitcher Cionel Pérez from the Houston Astros in exchange for minor league catcher Luke Berryhill.
Cionel Pérez initially signed with the Astros as an international free agent in September of 2016 for $5.1M. But that contract would be voided in October after something popped up in a physical. He became a free agent once again, but re-signed with Houston that December for a $2M signing bonus. As a 21-year-old he spend his first year as a professional in the minors, pitching in Low-A, Advanced-A, and Double-A while in the Astros farm system. In 2018 he moved up to Double-A and Triple-A, pitching well while splitting his time between the rotation and bullpen. He made his big league debut that year in July, and he’s seen some limited action with the Astros in the Major Leagues in each of the last two seasons, too. In total he’s thrown just 26.2 innings across the 2018-2020 seasons for the Astros. He’s allowed 17 runs in that stretch, posting a 5.74 ERA with 24 hits, 15 walks, and striking out 27 batters.
Cionel Pérez throws a fastball, slider, and a change up. His fastball has averaged 95.2 MPH in his big league career, topping out at 98 MPH. It’s labeled as a 4-seam fastball, but it’s a low spin pitch – averaging just 2139 RPM (league average today is around 2250). That’s going against a bit of what the team has focused on in recent years, but there’s more to a pitch than just the raw spin rate, too. His slider has worked in the low-to-mid 80’s in his career. The change up works in the mid-to-upper 80’s.
His control has been a bit of an issue in the upper minors and in the majors. In 160.1 innings across the Double-A, Triple-A and MLB levels he’s walked 72 batters. That’s a 4.04 walks per 9-innings pitched rate. That’s a bit higher than you would like it to be. In the Major Leagues that is 5.1 and is going to need to come down from there if he’s going to be any sort of reliable pitcher.
If needed, Cionel Pérez could spend time in the minors working to improve that control. He has one option remaining. According to Baseball Reference he is under team control through the 2025 season, though that could change depending on how much time he were to spend in the minor leagues moving forward.
Cionel Perez Career Stats
More on Luke Berryhill
The Reds traded catcher Luke Berryhill to Houston in the deal. In 2019 he was selected in the 13th round out of South Carolina, where he hit .271/.382/.538 for the Gamecocks. After he signed, the Reds sent him to rookie-level Greeneville in the Appalachian League. He only played in eight games there, hitting .240/.344/.400 with more walks, five, than strikeouts, four. There was no 2020 minor league baseball season, so that was the most recent data we have.