3. OF Hedbert Perez
I was as high on Hedbert Perez as anyone. He was once ranked the Brewers 3rd best prospect and was a big signing coming out of Venezuela in 2019. Perez made his way into spring training games and was one of the youngest players to be in the 2021 spring camp while there were still restrictions on how many could be there. But he simply hasn't been able to get going.
Perez put up great numbers in the Arizona Complex League in 2021, hitting .333/.394/.575 with 11 doubles and six homers. He earned a late season promotion to Low-A Carolina for the last couple weeks of the season, where he struggled to adjust. He struck out 25 times in 16 games, after already striking out 34 times in 32 games in the ACL.
Perhaps it was just a blip as he adjusted to the tougher competition. But he hasn't bounced back. Perez went back to Carolina for 2022, where his stock took a massive hit as he struggled to a .216/.272/.393 slash line but with 23 doubles and 15 homers, albeit with 132 strikeouts. His 30% K rate continued to be a major concern. Still, as a 19 year old at such an advanced level, struggles aren't uncommon.
Perez repeated Low-A Carolina in 2023, a chance to build off some late season momentum he had from September 2022. Perez again started slow out of the gate, hitting just .122 in the month of April, going 6-for-49 with 19 Ks. After two months of the season, Perez was hitting just .157 with a .506 OPS. He finally started to pick it up in June and July, hitting .310 from June 6th through June 30th with four homers. He then had hits in seven of his last eight games before going down with a season-ending injury.
The injury is a tough break for Perez, and it certainly did no favors for his prospect stock, and neither did the two months with a sub-.200 average. He was putting together a solid stretch over those next two months and perhaps was reclaiming some value, but his surge was cut short.
While Perez's stock is at an all time low, all hope is not lost. He'll be entering his age 21 season this year and will possibly start the year in High-A Wisconsin where he can build off that momentum he found during the summer in Carolina in 2023.
Perez's big signing bonus is a distant memory now. If he's going to find his way back onto the Brewers top 30 list, he's going to have to earn his way there and it will take some time.