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Luis Perales Scouting Report
Chris Clegg breaks down his live looks at Red Sox pitching prospect Luis Perales
On Saturday, I hit the road and set off for Columbia, SC to get a look at Austin Charles of the Royals face-off against Luis Perales. Salem’s lineup had a ton of fun hitters, including one of my personal favorites, Roman Anthony.
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Luis Perales stole the show, as he fired five scoreless innings, in which he allowed just one hit, zero walks, and struck out seven. He is on a pretty strict pitch limit right now and was pulled after just five innings and 69 pitches. Perales landed 47 of those pitches for strikes and pounded the zone with his high-end fastball. It was one of the most impressive starts I have been at this year which includes arms like AJ Smith-Shawver, Chase Hampton, and others.
Who is Luis Perales and what does he bring to the table?
Who is Luis Perales?
Perales is a 6’1”/160 lb right-handed pitcher who signed with the Red Sox in July of 2019. He has an athletic build and moves well on and off the mound. There is likely room for Perales to still add muscle and velocity to his already good fastball.
Perales was not highly touted when he signed and has had an interesting ride to get to where he is today. Perales was set to participate in the DSL in 2020 as a 17-year-old, but the season was ultimately lost due to COVID. Injuries limited his 2021 season to just one start, and it was not until the Florida Complex League in 2022 that we finally saw Perales throw significant innings.
Perales dominated the Complex in 2022, compiling a 1.08 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP in 25 innings. He struck out 36.2 percent of batters and walked just 9.6 percent. It was clear he needed innings in Single-A. He got four starts after the promotion, but just 10.2 innings in Salem in which he flashed some good things, leaving the organization excited about what Perales could do in 2023.
The Red Sox kept Perales on a pretty strict pitch count in 2022, limited to three innings per start. This season is more of the same, as Perales is currently limited to five innings a start.
Perales spent most of his start out of the windup, as he allowed just one base runner. He throws from a semi-windup, taking a step back toward first base before moving into a high leg-kick. Perales then strides toward the plate and releases from a high three-quarters arm slot. He has a reasonably short arm action but a fast arm that is consistent on all of his pitches. His changeup is highly deceptive because his arm speed is consistent with his fastball.
Perales has a strong lead leg block creating an excellent base and foundation to work around. His shoulders and spine angle help create nice torque and velocity. His rotation is perpendicular to his spine, which is ideal. He does fall off to the first base side on occasion, but other times stays balanced on his front leg.
The video below does a good job illustrating the torque Perales gets, as well as his arm speed.
Perales relied heavily on his fastball on Saturday, throwing it nearly 70 percent of the time. It didn’t. To begin the game, he threw 10 straight fastballs, and he was blowing it by hitters consistently at 95 mph.
Perales fastball has nice life at the top of the zone and is averaging over 15 inches of IVB on it. It has some of the best life I have seen on a fastball in Single-A or High-A. It is even up there with AJ Smith-Shawver’s fastball, which I saw earlier this year.
He began most hitters with fastballs up in the zone to set the tone of the at-bat. Perales was even comfortable throwing the fastball three straight times if he felt like hitters could not catch up.
The changeup was Perales’ second most used pitch in the start, likely due to the number of left-handed batters in Columbia’s lineup. The upper-80s pitch is highly deceptive and tunnels well with the fastball before diving off late. Perales’s arm speed which I previously discussed, is a large reason for this. It is very consistent and quick with both pitches.
Perales’s curveball is very advanced and a high-spinning pitch. It sits in the lower-80s, and his arm slot really allows him to snap the pitch off. He dropped it in at the top of the strike zone but also got right-handed hitters to chase low and away. While he did not feature it often in my live look, it definitely looks like a plus pitch.
I walked away from Segra Park highly impressed with Luis Perales on Saturday. While there have been inconsistencies this season, starts like his last one show the upside of what he could be. Perales has all the makings of a Major League starter, beginning with a very good fastball. The pure stuff is the best in the Red Sox system, and it might not be close.
If Perales continues to develop his secondaries and adds even a tick of velocity to the fastball, there is potential for a number two starter. Worst case scenario, you are likely looking at a solid bullpen arm. But I feel better about projecting Perales to be a starter than a reliever at this point. The next step would be a bump to High-A for his next challenge.
For the season, Perales has a 32 percent CSW and an 18 percent swinging strike rate. Over his last seven starts, Perales had a 3.19 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched.
Full Game Film: