D-backs sign UCLA-bound pitcher Perez
PHOENIX — Score another coup for pitcher-hunting Kevin Towers.
High school right-hander Felipe Perez, the top-rated player not chosen in the June 2012 draft, agreed to sign with the Diamondbacks on Friday, adding another young arm to a position that is the strength of the minor league system.
Perez, 18, will receive a $403,000 signing bonus pending a physical exam, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
The deadline for signing drafted players was July 13, but since Perez was not drafted, he was eligible to be signed until he attended his first college class. Perez had committed to UCLA, which is believed to be the reason teams stayed away from him in the draft.
The D-backs continued to follow Perez in a summer league in Oregon and saw enough to exhaust the remaining money in their 2012 bonus pool as allotted by Major League Baseball. The D-backs could not have spent any more without losing a 2013 first-round pick.
“You have to exhaust every means possible,” D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery said.
“It‘s a good opportunity to add a good arm in a unique situation. We’ve been following him for the last year and a half. We liked the player all along. He’s a very projectable high school right-hander.”
Perez’s fastball tops out in the 92-93 mph range, according to Baseball America, and the magazine ranked Perez as the No. 129 prospect entering the June draft. He has been a part of the U.S. national team program the last few years.
Perez was 3-4 with a 1.45 in eight appearances last season at Anaheim (Calif.) Fairmont Prep, which does not compete in the top California high school division. He had 89 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings.