Darwin Perez is a middle infielder that signed with the Athletics as a minor league free agent after 6 seasons in the Angels system. While Nathaniel Stolz loved the signing, I didn't find him that exciting statistically, since he repeated the most offensively friendly AA in 2012 and got worse by about .100 OPS points. He is just 23, and did have a positive FRAA at SS, but he didn't have a great FRAA and played a lot of 2nd base as well. He also was pretty good statistically in the Venezuelan Winter League, but there isn't a great reason to trust those numbers.
With all this said, his name came up again when I noticed that he ranked 38th out of the 475 players in the odds system I created once you add defense and baserunning. That was right behind Leury Garcia, another middle infielder, but one that is considered a real prospect and is someone I really liked when I watched him. So this caught my eye, and I decided I needed to see a little more of Perez and take a better look at him.
A switch hitter, Perez is still small, listed at 5-10 160, and he looks even smaller when you watch him play. His bat seems pretty quick, and he seems to have at least decent bat control. He will show an uppercut swing on low pitches as a left-hander but looks almost like a completely different hitter from the right side. As a lefty, his stance is more open, but on the right side, it is more closed. Statistically, he has been slightly better with a lefty, with almost exact same power numbers on both sides, but better average and walks as a lefty. His swing as a lefty is a little better, as he seems a little stiff as a right-hander and doesn't have the body and bat control he showcases as a left-hander. Obviously with both his body type and career slugging numbers, there isn't much reason to think he will suddenly develop into a power hitter.
In the field, he shows plenty of athleticism and range and his arm seems to be solid as well. John Sickels suggested that he is better suited for 2nd base, which would make him a lot less interesting. His throwing motion is a little odd (he drops down sidearm), but I think that the arm is not bad.
I got him at about 4.16 to 4.24 to 1st base from the left side, which is roughly average (he was predictably a little quicker bunting). For the type of player he is, that is not overly impressive. Speed Score has him as a better than average runner, but not really elite or anything special. With the questions that come with his bat (and perhaps even positionally), it would be really nice if he was a better
Overall, it is pretty hard to see Perez being an impact player in the big leagues. He isn't good with the bat anyway, and I think there is a chance he will only be even workable on just the left side of the plate. He can play some defense in the middle infield, which should eventually get him in the big leagues (and considering all the shortstops they have lost, the Angels could have used him), but he isn't an elite enough defender or a good enough runner to start in the big leagues. While his career minor league 11.9 BB % is impressive, he hasn't hit for much average and I would expect it to drop in the upper levels as pitchers just throw more strikes to him. We have already seen this somewhat, as his peripherals really dropped in 2012. Assuming that he doesn't suddenly start hitting for an extreme average, Perez is basically going to be a utility player that may hang around for a few years thanks to decent defense up the middle.