Detroit Tigers prospect Franklin Perez has lost velocity

When the Detroit Tigers traded star pitcher Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in 2017, the Tigers received prospects (catcher) Jake Rogers, (outfielder) Daz Cameron and (pitcher) Franklin Perez. Perez was thought to be the centerpiece of the trade, which could stand to reason. At one point Perez was the Tigers top prospect. That was a while ago.

Franklin Perez, was a once can’t miss prospect. After his trade to the Detroit Tigers the injury bug hit Perez. 2018 and 2019 saw the young right handed pitcher miss large chunks of the seasons due to injuries.

Before injuries Perez’s fastball ranged from 92-92 mph. Yesterday, Franklin Perez took the mound for the Tigers and what proceeded next was nothing short of concerning. Perez’s velocity was way off.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 12: Franklin Perez #58 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 12, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

In two innings of work, Perez threw four fastball at 85.8 mph, 86.3 mph, 88.9 mph and 88.3 mph. Nowhere close to his old 92-94 mph. What is puzzling is what has happened to the young pitcher. Perhaps, the past shoulder injury is to blame.

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch was asked about the velocity issue and if he thought the velocity would return, Hinch’s reply was somewhat downtrodden “I don’t know, We’ll see.”

The fact that Franklin Perez has been healthy for a year now, is concerning. Last year at spring training Perez’s fastball hit 92 mph regularly. So the million dollar question is what happened.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to evaluate.” Hinch said after yesterdays spring game. Without his velocity Perez threw a steady diet of off speed pitches. Changeups, curveballs and sliders. But without a fastball a pitcher can only last so long.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 14: A detailed view of a Detroit Tigers baseball hat and glove sitting in the dugout during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park on September 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Indians 6-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The hope is that the Detroit Tigers medical staff and pitching coach Chris Fetter can help Perez find his velocity. It would greatly help both the pitcher and the Detroit Tigers.

Here’s hoping they can fix the issue.

The Detroit Tigers believe Franklin Perez still has a future role

Franklin Perez was one of the crown jewels of the 2017 trade that sent longtime Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros. Injuries derailed Perez’s development. The young pitcher threw just 27 innings due to injuries. Now healthy, the Tigers believe Franklin Perez has a future spot in the teams starting rotation.

At just 22 years old it is way to early to give up on Franklin Perez. When he arrived as part of the Verlander package, Perez was a top 10 prospect in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. Injuries and time missed saw Perez fall in the rankings and land at No. 14.

Perez’s pitch’s suggest he can be a solid three or four pitcher in  the Tigers rotation. If it were another team he could be a number two starter. The Tigers with excellent pitching prospects which includes Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning may actually see Perez at four.

When healthy, Franklin Perez is very talented. The young right handed pitcher,   showed a lot of potential in summer camp, but his fastball was stuck in the low 90s and his command was off at times. There were still moments where Perez gave reminders of just how good he can be.

Once Perez can clean up his wildness and consistently throw the ball around the plate he should arrive in Detroit. The future of the Tigers starting rotation already looks solid. Throw a healthy, confident Franklin Perez into the mix and the Detroit pitching staff of the future looks downright scary.

DETROIT – MAY 4: Exterior of Comerica Park is pictured before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox on May 4, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 4-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling /MLB via Getty Images)

It is not out of the question all four of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects arrive at Comerica Park next season. However that shakes out. The Tigers are just about ready to remake the 2020 worst pitching staff in MLB and replace it with young talented pitchers eager to prove themselves.

When this happens fans will be able to finally see a light at the end of the long rebuild.

Healthy going into spring training Detroit Tigers pitcher Franklin Perez is focused

Embed from Getty Images In the pitching cages, once top pitching prospect Franklin Perez fired fastballs to his catcher. Perez held back smiles as he met with a few of the Detroit Tigers beat writers. “I feel fantastic, This is one of the best moments for us as pitchers, focusing on improving our pitches instead of rehabilitating and getting back to business. It feels great to be back here.” Perez stated.

Franklin Perez was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros. Two and a half years have passed since Perez was the headline prospect the club of the big trade.

Perez has pitched just 27 innings in the Tigers’ organization, all out of Lakeland in either the Class A Advanced Florida State League or the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. That is because of injuries.

A right lat strain in Spring Training 2018 delayed Franklin’s debut in the Tigers’ organization. Later in 2018 Perez was shelved for the season with right shoulder inflammation.

Franklin Perez did not have surgery, he went with just a cortisone injection. What Perez did have was time to heal. The young pitcher worked in Lakeland with the Detroit Tigers athletic training and medical staffs. Aside from the rehab, Perez worked on nutrition, finding a diet to help with better healing.

If Franklin Perez has indeed moved past the injuries, and can pick up where he left off, the Detroit Tigers pitching prospects are even stronger, if you can believe that. All indications are Perez is ready for a rebound season.

It will be worth watching where the Tigers choose to place him after cam starts. No matter where that is Perez likely will not be there long. He is too talented.