Ryan Perry Makes An Impression

Right-hander Ryan Perry was selected 21st overall in the 2008 draft and he already has people talking. According to a story at MLB.com, the club has been really impressed with him so far this spring. There are even whispers that he could break camp with the big club.

Don’t get too excited, though. Sure he can hit triple digits from time-to-time, but Perry’s control/command is lacking and he does not have a lot of pitching experience, having entered his collegiate career as an infielder. He also struggled with injuries in college, which cut into his pitching experience and his numbers were not impressive at all prior to his draft year. He had a 2.89 ERA at the University of Arizona in 2008, but his ERAs were 7.34 and 6.35 in his first two seasons. Perry, 22, also allowed 102 hits in 68.1 innings.

That’s not to say Perry didn’t deserve to be a first-round pick, or will not be an impact Major League player, but to expect him to have a major (positive) impact in 2009 is asking a bit too much. In 12 High-A games in 2008 – the highest level he’s pitched at, Perry posted a 3.86 ERA but allowed 15 hits in 11.2 innings. He also walked seven (and struck out 12). Keep in mind he hasn’t even faced live, opposing hitters in spring training.

The Tigers added veteran Brandon Lyon to the bullpen via free agency, and he should add much-needed stability, especially with Joel Zumaya’s ongoing injury woes. The other bullpen options: Freddy Dolsi, Zach Miner, and Fernando Rodney are far from sure things.

Unfortunately, Perry may be needed, whether he’s ready or not.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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