A couple years ago, Hernan Perez was one of the Tigers' better prospects, but even by those standards, his 2016 came as quite a surprise. He flashed decent power and excelled with his speed over 123 games for the Brewers. His main weakness is his lack of plate discipline (4.2 percent walk rate), which resulted in a poor .302 OBP. Unfortunately, Perez is unlikely to see everyday at-bats in 2017, which caps his upside. He could occupy the short side of a platoon with Eric Thames or Travis Shaw at the infield corners, and his ability to play at least passably at every outfield and infield spot should allow him to get occasional starts elsewhere when a righty is on the hill. When he does see playing time, he should continue to have the green light on the bases, which will be his main source of fantasy value. Of course, if any number of players suffered an injury, he could be thrust into everyday duty, which would make his stock soar.
Perez rejoined the Brewers on Sunday following a stint with Venezuela in the WBC, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Perez spent a couple weeks away from the Brewers while representing his country, but he's back with the team two weeks prior to Opening Day. He totaled just seven at-bats over six WBC games, but Perez didn't show any rust Sunday in his first spring game back with the Brewers, homering and adding a two-run single. Perez will enter the regular season without a regular starting spot, barring an injury, but he still figures to see several starts per week as others need days off, and he gets a boost in fantasy value from his eligibility at multiple positions.
Perez is 6-for-19 (.316) with two home runs and three RBI through seven spring games. Perez hit a respectable .281/.313/.449 after the All-Star break last season, and he has continued to hit this spring. He does not have a regular starting spot in the Brewers' lineup, but he saw action at every defensive position outside of catcher in 2016 and figures to continue working as a super-sub this season. He will not see many at-bats with the Brewers in the near future, however, as he will spend at least the next week playing for Venezuela in the WBC.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he'll give Perez time in left field with Ryan Braun resting for the first week of spring action, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Perez will probably share those duties with Scooter Gennett, who's trying his hand as a utility player. Perez clubbed 13 home runs and swiped 34 bases in an extended role last season, but his reps may be limited with Milwaukee bolstering its infield depth. NL-only fantasy players can speculate that he'll remain in the lineup enough to be a significant speed weapon, but banking on a repeat of last year's stats and playing time is a mistake.
Perez is starting in center field Thursday against the Pirates. The Brewers continue to get their Swiss Army knife into the lineup in any way possible, which means Perez will garner his first start in center field. This marks his sixth position played of the season, which could help him cement a decently-sized role on the team heading into next season.
Perez went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a steal, three RBI and a run against the Cardinals on Thursday. The versatile speedster's fashioned two four-hit games in his last three, which is a great sign for his fantasy owners, who saw him hit just .107 over the eight games prior. Perez now has 30 steals to go with his 13 homers -- quite the accomplishment for a guy who had only 137 at-bats before the All-Star break.