Skip to content
Wenceel Perez

Wenceel Perez developed with makeshift equipment

Wenceel Perez credits hometown big leaguers

HOUSTON – Wenceel Perez recalls rolling up a few socks together to construct a baseball. The native of Azua, Dominican Republic, would grab a stick and rush outside to play baseball with the neighborhood kids. 

The jubilant children rallied outside and tossed the soft, makeshift ball around. Then the pitcher threw the ball to the batter, who used anything that would be considered a bat to strike the ball. 

The Tigers outfielder rejoices in those memories as he strides around the major league diamond. Those were the moments that started his journey to the majors. 

Wenceel Perez knew his passion early

“From an early age everyone played baseball in the street,” Perez said. “I will never forget those moments of playing baseball with my childhood friends. We would play baseball with balls made out of socks or pillow cases. We would have so much fun playing with a stick and ball made from socks.”

As he became serious about the sport, he knew it was no longer just fun and games. He was determined to make his childhood dream of reaching the majors come true by staying disciplined. 

Perez, 24, understood the work ethic needed to reach the big leagues. He transitioned into a big leaguer with the help from former major leaguers from his hometown.

He received guidance from Franchy Cordero, who played with the Royals, Padres, Red Sox and Yankees over seven seasons in the majors. Socrates Brito, who played with the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays over four years in the majors, also guided Perez.

Big league mentors

Perez is grateful that Cordero and Brito showed him how professional baseball worked once he signed.

“Really it’s been the discipline and hard work,” he said. “I believe since I was small I always tried to stay consistent. It’s what you need most to reach and stay in the big leagues. I stayed with the same childhood dream of playing baseball hard and producing for my team.”

Perez was 16 years old when he signed as an amateur free agent with the Tigers in 2016. The 5-foot-10 outfielder wasted no time climbing the minor league ladder. He made his way up the Tigers organization by garnering yearly promotions. 


Miguel Cabrera should have his numbers retired

Willi Castro does it all for Twins

Nolan Arenado embraces Cuban roots, meals

Perez had only eight games under his belt in Class AAA this year when he was promoted to Detroit.

“He’s having fun and playing the game the right way with lots of intensity,” Tigers outfielder Akil Baddoo said of Perez. “I tell people I saw him in High-A when he was in the minor leagues.

“I said, ‘He is going to be a bigger leaguer soon.’ To see him here enjoying the fruits of his labor is a blessing. I’m glad he’s enjoying, doing well, and having a great rookie season.”

Fast start

The slugging switch hitter has established himself in the Tigers’ outfield. He’s played in 51 games since being promoted on April 8. Perez has a .716 OPS and a .260 batting average.

He’s smashed three home runs, including two in one game from both sides of the plate. Perez has 47 hits, 17 RBIs and four stolen bases. 

On Saturday against the Astros, Perez recorded his first career four-hit game to complement his five career three-hit games. The next day he broke up the Astros’ no-hit bid with a two-out blooper to center in the eighth inning against Ryan Pressly. 

His five triples rank first in the club. He also became the first Tiger to have multiple triples in a game since Jake Wood did it in 1961. Perez is storming the league with his energetic play. 

“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” he said. “I’ve never imagined being here. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to reach the major league. I will keep enjoying it because it is huge for my family and me.”

Stay in the Loop

Get the Our Esquina Email Newsletter

By submitting your email, you are agreeing to receive additional communications and exclusive content from Our Esquina. You can unsubscribe at any time.