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Baseball's youngest starting pitcher in seven years made his MLB debut Friday night. Miami Marlins right-hander Eury Pérez, all 6-foot-8 of him, struck out seven Cincinnati Reds in 4 2/3 innings at loanDepot Park (GameTracker). The 20-year-old was called up directly from Double-A and he could be in the rotation for good. This is not necessarily a short-term promotion.

"I think there was a need for him up here," Marlins GM Kim Ng told earlier this week. "I also think when you're looking at him, he's throwing all his pitches for strikes, is commanding his pitches, and so those are the things that you really make sure that he can do before he gets here. He's shown that, so we're fine with him coming up."

Pérez is a big kid and he has the fastball you'd expect from a player that size. His heater averaged 97.5 mph and topped out at 99.1 mph Friday night, and he got the Reds to miss with 16 of their 47 swings for an impressive 34 whiff rate. The only blemish in Pérez's 4 2/3 innings (88 pitches) were solo home runs by Tyler Stephenson and Jake Fraley.

Eury Pérez
MIA • SP • #39
May 12 vs. Reds
IP4 2/3
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At 20 years and 27 days, Pérez is the youngest player to appear in a big league game since former Toronto Blue Jays righty Elvis Luciano debuted as a 19-year-old in 2019. Pérez is the youngest pitcher to start an MLB game since Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urías in 2016. He is the second-youngest Marlins player ever behind shortstop Edgar Renteria, who debuted at 19 in 1996.

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Pérez the No. 8 prospect in baseball entering the season. Here's his write-up:

Not to be confused with the former journeyman outfielder of the same name, this Pérez is a 6-foot-8 right-hander with front-of-the-rotation potential. He has a deep, quality arsenal led by a mid-90s fastball and a pair of breaking balls, and he's shown impressive command given his profile. Whereas many pitchers his size and age are still struggling to find the strike zone on a consistent basis, he averaged a walk every three innings across 18 starts (all but one occurring at Double-A) while adding muscle to his once-gangly frame. Pérez may make his debut sometime in 2023, though it should be noted that he's yet to clear the 100-inning threshold in a single season.

Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara has taken to mentoring Pérez in recent years, so much so that he picked him up at the airport Thursday night. "Just enjoy the moment, because this is going to be the one time in a lifetime, and you only live it once," Alcantara told about the advice he gave Pérez during the drive.

Pérez is the first player born in 2003 to appear in MLB. Earlier this season St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker became the first player born in 2002 to play in the big leagues. Back in 2019, Luciano became the first player born this century to play in MLB.

Miami is currently without Johnny Cueto and Trevor Rogers, both of whom are on the injured list with biceps issues. Those injuries cleared the way for Pérez to make his MLB debut.

In six Double-A starts prior to the promotion, Pérez had a 2.32 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 31 innings. He walked only nine.