Bassett High School product Nathan Perry getting new chance with Rays organization

Perry and the RiverDogs play in Lynchburg against the Hillcats through Sunday.
Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - After spending spring training with the Astros organization, Bassett High School product Nathan Perry was released in late March.

He returned to Virginia to figure out his next move when, just a week later, the catcher was signed to a minor league deal by the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’ve definitely seen a lot of young talent here with Tampa Bay, a lot of our young prospects I’m playing with right now,” he said about the experience so far. “It’s incredible to see just how developed they already are.”

Perry has spent this season in Low-A with Charleston, playing in 20 games so far this year. He says the catching position has evolved with the advancement of analytics over the course of his playing career.

“I think it has changed, especially like the analytics and pitch framing and just trying to steal certain pitches,” Perry said. “Different setups so, right now with the Rays, I’m working out of a one-knee down setup, which is new to me. It’s been an adjustment phase for me, but it’s getting better day by day and I’m excited to continue to grow.”

Spending the last two seasons in the Carolina League has meant frequent trips back home to the Commonwealth, getting a chance to play as a pro in front of friends and family.

“It’s been such a blessing over the years to be able to play on the East Coast,” he said. “Getting a chance to play here in Lynchburg, Salem, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.”

Life in the minors isn’t always a cakewalk, though.

Drafted out of Bassett in 2017, Perry says he was forced to adapt quickly to a highly-competitive environment.

“I’m just going to give you one word, it’s a grind,” he explained. “It’s taught me a lot, especially getting drafted out of high school, coming in and just being thrown into adulthood at 17 years old. It taught me a lot of things and I feel like I’ve really matured as a man by being in pro ball.”

Now 23 in his fifth pro season, Perry can offer his own guidance to teammates who are just starting out as he continues his own baseball journey.

“I feel kind of like a big brother, mentor to some of these guys,” he said. “I mean, they’re in the exact same spot I was in, and I feel like just being there for guys like that has been really cool.”

Perry and the RiverDogs play in Lynchburg against the Hillcats through Sunday.

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