USF lefty closer Andrew Perez was selected with the fourth pick of the eighth round—228 overall— by the Chicago White Sox in the 2018 MLB First Year Player Draft on Tuesday.
Perez is the eighth Bull to get drafted by the White Sox and first since they took Jason Dellaero with the 17th overall pick in 1997.
He joins fellow USF lefty Shane McClanahan ,who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 31st overall selection, as the first two Bulls off the board.
Perez came into 2018 as the undisputed closer after a highly successful 2017 campaign in that role. Statistically Perez has improved in every major category over his three seasons at USF, improving under pitching coach Billy Mohl and becoming the Bulls most reliable arm out of the bullpen
The 6-foot-1, 217 lb. junior out of Timber Creek in Orlando, FL signed with the Bulls in the 2015 recruiting class as the 9th best LHP prospect in the state of Florida according to Perfect Game. His fastball velocity saw a nice spike to the low to mid 90’s in addition to a curveball with solid movement.
Perez improved statistically in his three years with the Bulls bringing his ERA down from 6.75 in 2016, to 2.72 in 2017 and 2.34 in 2018.
As a freshman in 2016, Andrew Perez started two games and appeared in 18 others. He tallied one win and one save with 36 strikeouts in 30.2 innings pitched. In 2017, he started the year as the primary closer appearing in 27 games and striking out 52 in 39.2 innings. He finished with a 6-3 record and six saves and surrendered 25 hits and 18 walks and held opposing offenses to a .185 batting average against him. We all will remember his 3.1 innings pitched against UF in the Gainesville Regional striking out two and allowing only two hits in a heartbreaking losing effort in extra innings.
In 2018, Perez dominated as the Bulls closer in 2018 leading the team in ERA in 42.1 innings pitched in 24 appearances. He also converted 12 saves for the most in a season since Tommy Peterson converted 16 in 2015; which is tied for 9th all time in a season with major leaguer Kevin Quackenbush, who accomplished the feat in 2011. His 2.34 ERA is also good for 9th all time in program history. Perez stifled offenses to a .233 average against him who scattered 37 hits and and cut his walks to just 12 with an impressive 50 strikeouts, which was the most by the USF bullpen by a far margin. He pitched two or more innings in nine different games this season and pitched three or more innings four times.
His last appearance will be remembered as a gritty outing pitching four innings, striking out two and getting the win against Hartford in the Bulls only victory in the DeLand Regional.
Billy Mohl and company have some huge shoes to fill in the closer role next season and we wish Andrew Perez best of luck in the White Sox system.