RC has been hearing about Gary Perez for a long time. When Perez was still in the Dominican Summer League, the Royals brass would rave about how they had a shortstop who was further along than both Angel Berroa and Andres Blanco had been at similar stages in their development.
Perez, who turns 22 in September, got his first crack at the American minor leagues this season. He's playing in Idaho Falls, where he's seen action at 3B, SS, and 2B. His natural position is shortstop -- and the Royals still view him as one -- but since Chris McConnell is also a Chukar, Perez moves around a lot.
After a slow start, Perez has been on fire of late. On July 9, his batting average stood at a miserable .233, and RC was starting to think that we'd been duped into believing Perez was someone to watch. But since that day, nobody in the Royals system has been better:
Since July 9, Perez has a line of .488/.593/.791, which has pushed his season line up to .340/.461/.515. Yes, the Pioneer League is a hitter's league, so offensive stats must be taken in context, but the most fascinating thing about Perez is independent of park factors: his plate discipline. In 103 at bats thus far, Perez has walked 22 times, which is a very good, and very odd for a young Dominican player. The saying in the Dominican Republic is that "you can't walk off the island," and it's rare to see a young Dominican player with a solid knowledge of the strike zone. Yes, it's too early to say that about Perez, but it's definitely something we'll be watching.
Of course, we have a new theory. Looking at the schedule, we see that the Royals have off days on August 18 and 22. With the two off days so close together, the Royals would be able to use a four-man rotation during that stretch. We bet Hernandez will drop his appeal then, and the Royals will get by with D.J. Carrasco, Kyle Snyder, Zack Greinke, and Jose Lima (if he's still around).
Editor's note: RC did go to the Baysox/Mets game, and we did get some nice photos of Milledge. We'll post them this week sometime, but we can let you in on our preliminary conclusion: All the moaning from certain corners of Royals Nation about Baird taking Lubanski over Milledge in the 2003 draft is pretty silly.