To be up front with you, I am a Rockies fan (if you don't recognize me already).
My business took me to Casper, Wyoming early this week, which conveniently coincided with the 2010 Opening Series of the Casper Ghosts, the Rockies' Rookie-Level Team. I decided to check it out even though the Ghosts don't have anyone of note on their roster yet. Not a single Ghost truly excited me, but there was one player that had the crowd buzzing the moment he stepped onto the field.
His name was Michael Pericht, and he is the catcher for the Ogden Raptors.
Yesterday, meercatjohn had this to say about Pericht:
Pericht was on the Arizona rookie league team and compiled a very uninspiring .740 OPS in 2009. This is the Raptors clean up hitter in 2010?.
I saw those statistics as well, and I have no idea how he put up such a poor showing. Still, I'm guessing meercatjohn wouldn't have questioned Pericht's batting slot had he seen him play (which is understandable) - or seen the rest of Ogden's roster.
Pericht stands a scary 6'5" with at least a 225lb frame. At 22, he's a man among boys by default in the Pioneer League, but his build sets him apart completely. After two games in Casper, this is his line:
7-for-9, 3 HR, 2 doubles, 7 RBI, 4 R. 1-for-3 nailing basestealers.
Flat out beastly. It wasn't BABIP luck either. His single tonight was a scorched grounder to third that was hit too hard to remain in the webbing of the third baseman's glove. His single last night was a laser to left field. His double tonight was a shot over the center fielder's head, while last night, it was pelted to the right-center field gap.
His home run last night came on an 0-2 breaking pitch below his knees, a golf shot to the deepest part of the ballpark in dead center. He took an outside fastball out down the right field line this evening, then hit the roof of a picnic gazebo well over the left field wall later in the game. Everything was hit hard.
He moved well behind the plate and has a strong arm.
I'm starting to make him sound like the 2011 successor to Russell Martin.
The negatives: he is already 22 and only in the Pioneer League. He is feastly on children almost literally. He already has three throwing errors and a passed ball (though more adept fielders would have saved him two of those errors). And he has a lot of difficulty with breaking pitches. He struck out in the ninth on a pitch in the dirt and looked flat out foolish in the first inning yesterday before lacing a fastball to right center.
If he can't learn to hit a breaking pitch consistently, he can't move fast. But he most certainly is an athletic specimen who can flat out hit. Those hits were legitimate. The last time I saw a minor leaguer create that much buzz in person was at a low-A game, where a fellow hit three home runs. He would surface in the major leagues a year later. You might have heard of Wily Mo Pena.
Anyway, Arizona Fall League aside, Perecht is ill-suited for the Pioneer League. Catchers may blossom late, but if you want to see what he can do, write Ned a letter and request Pericht be promoted as soon as possible. Then maybe my Ghosts stand a chance.