Tigers To Recall Wenceel Perez For MLB Debut

MLB Trade Rumors

3:30pm: The Tigers have placed Ibanez on the 10-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain, per Evan Woodbery of the MLive Media Group, with Perez recalled in the corresponding move.

2:56pm: The Tigers are calling up infielder/outfielder Wenceel Perez for his major league debut. Perez announced the news himself on his Instagram story. The team hasn’t confirmed the move themselves just yet, nor have the Tigers announced the corresponding 26-man roster move. Per Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press, Perez will be replacing Andy Ibanez, who has some sort of injury. It’s not yet clear what that injury is or how significant it is.

Perez, 24, ranks as the Tigers’ No. 20 prospect at both Baseball America and MLB.com. He can provide the Tigers with an option at as many as five spots on the diamond. The versatile switch-hitter has played exclusively in the outfield in his first eight Triple-A games of the season, but he’s split the bulk of his professional career between the two middle infield slots, playing 1871 innings at shortstop and 1818 innings at second base.

While he’s out to a bit of a slow start this season, hitting .212/.297/.485 with a homer and four steals in 37 plate appearances, Pere turned in a strong .264/.394/.496 showing in his first 160 Triple-A plate appearances last year (124 wRC+). He regularly posts strong walk rates and well below-average strikeout rates in the minors. Perez may not have elite power or speed, but he popped a career-high 14 homers in 2023 and has averaged 22 stolen bases per year dating back to 2021.

Scouting reports on Perez note that he easily has the range to play second base but is hampered there by inconsistent throws. The Tigers are hopeful that top prospect Colt Keith can handle that position long-term anyhow, and they’re stuck with Javier Baez’s contract at shortstop, so a move to the outfield makes sense as Perez deepens his defensive versatility to prep for the utility role that both BA and MLB.com suggest he can fill.

The Tigers selected Perez to the 40-man roster following the 2022 season. He’s in the second of three minor league option years and can be freely shuttled between Toledo and Detroit this year without needing to worry about waivers. He will likely replace Ibanez on the club’s bench next to Matt Vierling and Zach McKinstry.

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