Perez was already on the 40-man roster, as he needed to be protected from the most recent Rule 5 draft. Accordingly, the move is not necessarily a particularly consequential one.
That said, this will be his first turn at the game’s highest level. And it stands to reason that the ’Stros would not have made the move unless they were interested to see how the highly regarded lefty looks in the MLB bullpen.
Perez, 22, has been a nice addition to the Houston farm since signing in 2016 out of Cuba — a process that had some twists and turns but left him with a $2MM signing bonus. He entered the current season ranked 6th among the organization’s prospects by MLB.com.
Questions remain as to Perez’s long-term outlook as a starter. Per MLB.com, he’s still refining his primary three-pitch mix — sinker/slider/change — and faces concerns about his small stature. There’s also the matter of the elbow concerns that gummed up his original deal with Houston.
That said, Perez has sure looked the part this year. In his 57 1/3 Double-A frames, he carries a 2.20 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. He has compiled that stat line over ten starts and four relief appearances, so clearly the Astros aren’t pushing him too hard. Perez tallied 93 2/3 total innings in 2017, his first professional campaign, so he wasn’t quite set up for a full workload this year.
All things considered, it’s certainly possible that Houston could look at Perez as a potential multi-inning relief asset. He’d still be able to return to the rotation in the long run. It’s more likely, though, that this call-up will represent only a first taste of the majors. The Astros’ pen has been rather dominant, after all, though it’d be nice to have another option available if any cracks begin to form.