3. OF Hedbert Perez
When it comes to prospect hype, few were as hyped coming in as Brewers outfielder Hedbert Perez. The Brewers signed Perez in the 2019 international signing period. His professional debut was delayed by the cancelled 2020 season, but reports of his hitting ability, power, and overall five tool package led to a lot of excitement. He even got some Cactus League at-bats in spring training.
Perez played well in 2021 in the Arizona Complex League, earning a late season promotion to Low-A Carolina for the final two weeks of the year. He struggled initially but played better in his second week as an 18 year old in Low-A.
The hype was there and now we were going to get a chance to see him over the course of a full season as a 19 year old. But Perez's 2022 season disappointed.
Perez spent the entire season in Low-A Carolina and posted a .216/.272/.393 slash line with 23 doubles, 15 homers, nine stolen bases, and 132 strikeouts in 407 ABs. That's a 32.4% K rate, which is not ideal to say the least.
Perez showed good power, but it seemed at times he was selling out for power and sacrificed the hitting and on-base ability. He's going to need to get back to focusing on just putting the ball in play and making good contact.
By all accounts, the ingredients are still there for a very successful player. The swing is smooth, but pitch selection and approach may need some adjustments.
For a much hyped international player, that first year in full season ball is a very important litmus test. He didn't exactly pass with flying colors in 2022 and is likely to start 2023 back in Low-A Carolina. If Perez struggles again in 2023, there may begin to be some concerns about whether Perez will be able to reach his enormously high ceiling.
Perez was one of the youngest players in Low-A last year, so struggles are somewhat to be expected. He'll enter the 2023 season as a 20 year old and even though he's still young, it's going to be an important season for his prospect status and for him to show that he's improving as a hitter.