St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Delvin Perez is one player I’m interested to see in Spring Training.
It’s been a tough road for the former top prospect, who has struggled mightily in the minor leagues but might have finally righted the ship in 2019 after hitting .269/.329/.325 in 458 at-bats, by far his largest amount of playing time.
Unfortunately for Perez and every other minor leaguer, the lack of a minor league season in 2020 cost him development time and the chance to show that he could repeat or even improve on his 2019 performance.
Perez’s invite to Spring Training is a sign that the Cardinals want to see his performance in a real game, or at least something close to one. Perez is still only 22, so there is some time left for him to develop.
One area of concern for Perez is his power. Perez’s wiry frame doesn’t lend itself to much thump, and while shortstop isn’t a position requiring much power at the plate, a total of two home runs in 1,095 career plate appearances is extreme. However, his line drive percentage ticked up in 2019, so at least he’s hitting the ball with more authority.
The Cardinals’ development history of shortstops isn’t as strong as one might think. Only Brendan Ryan and Paul DeJong have played more than 100 games in consecutive seasons and were drafted and developed by the Cardinals. Edmundo Sosa could have the talent to be a third. But all too often, the Cardinals have had to acquire their starting shortstops through trades or free agency.
Perez could be the heir to DeJong in time, but he needs playing time and the ability to prove that 2019 wasn’t a fluke. Another lost minor league season would be catastrophic.
I want to see Perez play heavily in Spring Training because I want to know if the Cardinals can get anything out of him. It would be quite the tale if a player who had trouble cutting it in Single-A ball could find his groove against major league pitching, so I’m not expecting too much. Still, it will be interesting seeing a formerly hyped prospect get a chance.
If Perez can show an ability to adapt and produce, it’s still possible the Cardinals could make good on their draft pick whom many had written off as a bust. There are obviously massive holes in his game he needs to work on, but a successful spring could rejuvenate fans’ hopes and give them something to dream on again.