The far-reaching impact of Eury Pérez's debut

May 14th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Marlins fans lined up along the wall near the left-field foul pole on Friday night to catch a glimpse of top prospect  warming up before his Major League debut.

Among them were Adrian Lorenzo (senior director of international operations), David Hernandez Beayne (assistant director of international scouting) and Angel Izquierdo (international area scout). All three were involved in bringing Pérez to the Marlins as an international free agent in 2019, and they beamed with pride as the 20-year-old right-hander threw his pregame bullpen.

Once Pérez finished, everyone in the vicinity began shouting his name and asking for the ball. One voice in particular, that of Izquierdo's, caught his attention. Looking up, Pérez spotted Izquierdo and tossed him the ball, which briefly got away before being retrieved in the stands.

Marlins international area scout Angel Izquierdo holding Eury Pérez's pregame bullpen ball on Friday.

"It felt great having them there," Pérez said via interpreter Luis Dorante Jr. "They were there since Day 1. Always trusting the process, trusting in my talent. So, it was a great feeling having them there and feeling that support. That's why I threw the ball to Angel, because it was proof of appreciation that I feel for all of them."

A couple of younger fans asked whether Izquierdo would give the ball to them. Izquierdo briefly explained that it meant a lot to him: Pérez was the first player he signed as a professional scout. With minutes to spare before first pitch, Izquierdo, Lorenzo and Hernandez Beayne rushed through the main concourse to their seats to watch Pérez take the big league mound for the first time.

"I don't know who's more emotional: him or me," Izquierdo said. "I'm nervous, but he knows what he wanted to do. He knows why he's here. He deserved that. And he looks so focused. I'm pretty sure it's going to go well today. [I'm] expecting that, and I know he's going to make it. I'm really excited to be here."

Pérez, who became the youngest pitcher in franchise history (20 years, 27 days), allowed a pair of solo homers in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

In Santiago, Dominican Republic, where Izquierdo had flown in from Thursday night, Pérez's hometown was tuned in. Watch parties were happening in his neighborhood of Villa Liberación, La Otra Banda. Pérez was sent videos from his grandmother's and mom's houses. The family is working on obtaining visas, so Pérez is hopeful they can be present for his next start.

"Very thankful for that support that they have all given me and they have shown," Pérez said.