What the Eury Perez promotion means for the Miami Marlins

Mar 17, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Eury Perez (76) pitches against the New York Mets in the first inning at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; Miami Marlins pitcher Eury Perez (76) pitches against the New York Mets in the first inning at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

If there was any doubt before, it’s gone now. With the promotion of top prospect Eury Perez, the Miami Marlins are going all in to win in 2023.

Ready or not, the Eury Perez experience is coming to the Miami Marlins.

That’s right. According to The Miami Herald‘s Craig Mish, Perez will be making his Marlins debut on Friday night at home against the Cincinnati Reds. Perez is the unquestioned top prospect in the organization, has been phenomenal this year in Double-A, and is the most talented pitcher the Marlins have that isn’t already on the MLB roster.

He’s also just 20 years old, and will be the youngest starting pitcher in Marlins history.

Obviously then, this is a very aggressive move. Furthermore, it’s one that never even happens if the Marlins weren’t having the injury and consistency issues they were having with the starting rotation. Here they are though, throwing the kid into the fire two weeks before Memorial Day. Which begs the question: what in the world are the Marlins thinking?

The answer? The Miami Marlins are all in on being a winner in 2023.

Now, to be clear, winning doesn’t have to mean winning a championship (which is great, because the Marlins won’t be doing that). They probably won’t even make the playoffs … but they are capable of being good enough to win more than they lose. Of being competitive from bell to bell. Of not being eliminated from the playoffs until the third Miami Dolphins regular season game, as opposed to their third summer workout. Of being fun to watch. In short, being interesting and relevant.

Because if they don’t, the Marlins are dead in the water in the South Florida market.

Fortunately for Marlins fans, it would appear that the team knows this. This is a make or break year. They’ve already called up the best offensive prospects that they could reasonably squint and deem to be big league ready in Peyton Burdick and Xavier Edwards. Now, it’s a 20-year-old’s turn to ride to the rescue. He just happens to be a much a bigger prospect, and not just because he’s 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds. Seriously, he looks like someone that should be patrolling the three-point line, not a pitcher’s mound.

Until he starts pitching anyway … then he looks right at home. His fastball can reach 100 mph. His 2023 Double-A line sports a 2.32 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. By bypassing Triple-A entirely and bringing him straight to MLB, Miami is hoping to capture some of the magic of past prospect promotion success stories. Due to age, Jose Fernandez has been the popular comp, who debuted with the Marlins in 2013 at a slightly older 20 years young than Perez is. The problem with Fernandez though is that team had zero expectations of success win-loss wise. When you throw in the prospect pedigree and aspiration to compete, 2001 Josh Beckett might be the better analogy. The only problem there is that this 2023 team is probably aiming higher still. They want to win, not just improve on the previous season.

Which brings us to Dontrelle Willis.

Pedigree wise, it doesn’t work. Timing wise, it’s almost to the day of his call up in 2003, and also a move that is only happening because injuries forced Miami’s hand. At any rate, that’s the kind of instant success the Marlins are hoping for, even if it’s only for a few weeks until one of their injured starters return.

Bottom-line though, this move only gets made if the organization is feeling the pressure to stop playing for tomorrow, and start playing for today. Otherwise, they’d just roll the dice on whoever has the next best pitching record at Triple-A or sign a washed veteran free agent off the scrap heap to eat some innings. Calling up the top prospect organizationally, and one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball? Before he could legally buy a drink after work? That’s desperate.

However, it might also be brilliant. If Perez catches fire, and frankly is even just competent out there, it will pay huge dividends for the Marlins. If Miami jiggles the schedule just right, there’s a very real possibility that Perez might only face one winning team in his first seven starts. That’s an incredibly soft landing for a rookie pitcher. But those games also count just as much in the standings as those games against elite competition do.

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Make no mistake: the Miami Marlins have to win right now. Calling up Perez is the boldest swing yet by Miami to do so.