Fernando Perez

A seventh-round draft pick in 2004, the switch-hitting Perez has risen quickly through the ranks. In 2005 he was selected the Single-A Southwest Michigan Devil Rays Player of the Year. The following year, Perez led the minor leagues with 123 runs scored, en route to being named team MVP of the Single-A Visalia Oaks.

Perez spent the 2007 season with the Montgomery Biscuits in Double-A where he was chosen a Southern League postseason all-star after finishing the season with 121 hits, 84 runs, and a Biscuits’ single-season record of 32 stolen bases.

In 2008, Perez had an outstanding season with Durham, batting .288 with 86 runs scored, 43 stolen bases and 11 triples. Perez ranked second in the International League in runs, was third in steals and tied for second in triples before his promotion on September 1.

Perez impressed in his first month as a Major Leaguer, with three home runs and eight runs batted in during 23 games while playing consistently in the outfield.

It was a performance that earned him a spot on the postseason roster and the Elizabeth, N.J. native showed that he deserved his chance.

Down 1-0 in Game 2, Perez came off the bench as a pinch runner and scored the winning run in the 11th inning, giving Tampa Bay a 9-8 win, helping lift the Rays to an American League pennant in his first season as a Major Leaguer.

An American Studies major at Columbia, Perez is a native of West Windsor, N.J.  He typically comes back to the New York area during the offseason and in the winter of 2008-09, he trained with Columbia's baseball team prior to their respective seasons.