HOUSTON -- Accompanied by his mother and father, the Astros' 17-year-old second-round Draft pick, Joe Perez, signed a contract with the club on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park."It was a dream come true," Perez said. "It's awesome. It's crazy."Perez, the No. 53 overall selection, will receive a $1.6 million bonus
HOUSTON -- Accompanied by his mother and father, the Astros' 17-year-old second-round Draft pick, Joe Perez, signed a contract with the club on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
"It was a dream come true," Perez said. "It's awesome. It's crazy."
Perez, the No. 53 overall selection, will receive a $1.6 million bonus from the Astros, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jonathan Mayo. The suggested slot value for Perez -- a two-way position player/pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 13 and will play third base for the Astros -- is set at just over $1.2 million.
"We felt all along that a position player was the spot that we wanted him in," general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com on Tuesday. "He had the surgery -- I think that maybe dissuaded a few teams from taking him early, but that didn't dissuade us. He'll be back next year, and as a position player, you can recover from that pretty quickly. We like the entire package. We think he has a chance to hit at the big league level and be a big league defender."
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Perez, a selection out of Archbishop McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale, expects to begin rehab -- including hitting and throwing -- in four months at the Astros' Spring Training Complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., one hour from his home.
"We're extremely excited, because it's his dream come true," said Perez's father, Mike, on Tuesday. "We've helped him along the way, but he's worked extremely hard to get here. It's been his dream since he started playing when he was 5. We've seen how much time and effort he's put into it, so we're very proud of him."
Luhnow said Perez has the option to resort back to being a pitcher if necessary, but as of Tuesday, shortly after penning his contract and becoming a professional, Perez will routinely be in a batting order.
"I love it," Perez said. "I'll be able to go out there and play almost every day. It's a dream come true to be able to go out there and swing a bat."
"It's great to see a young man and his family come into Minute Maid Park with their eyes wide open and be excited about the opportunity that's ahead of them," Luhnow said.
Perez, the No. 92 prospect per MLBPipeline.com's Draft Top 200 Prospects list, was named a 2017 Rawlings-Perfect Game First-Team All American after batting .526 with nine home runs and a 1.726 OPS during his senior season.
During his senior season, he hit 14 doubles, three triples and nine home runs.
Including Perez, the Astros have signed 26 of their 42 selections from the 2017 Draft. The deadline to sign drafted players is July 7 at 4 p.m. CT.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.