Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Perez eventually moved with his family to West Windsor Township, New Jersey, where he attended elementary and middle school and played little league. Perez played youth travel soccer for the Pirates and the West End Warriors of Mercer County, New Jersey, winners of several state cup championships during his tenure. Perez attended the prestigious Peddie School, a private high school in Hightstown, New Jersey, where he was a standout member of the varsity baseball team.
Perez went to Columbia University where he studied American studies and creative writing, training he later used to become the first Major League Baseball player published in Poetry magazine. Perez is a fan of poets Robert Creeley and John Ashbery as well as author Tom Miller.
At Columbia, he played baseball for three years before being selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 7th round (195th overall) of the 2004 Major League Baseball draft.
He played in 2004 for the Hudson Valley Renegades in the short-season New York–Penn League, in 2005 for the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays Single-A team, in 2006 for the Visalia Oaks and in 2007 for the Montgomery Biscuits.
Perez was playing for the Triple-A Durham Bulls in 2008 (for whom he batted .288, with a .393 slugging percentage) when he was called up to the majors on August 31. From April 4-October 4, 2007, he wrote a journal for milb.com.
In his five season in the minors through 2008, he batted .289 with a .403 slugging percentage.
Perez was called up by the Tampa Bay Rays on August 31, 2008. In his first major league at bat. on September 5, Perez recorded a single off Toronto Blue Jays closer B. J. Ryan. His first major league home run came in front of his hometown fans on September 14, at Yankee Stadium. In 60 at bats, he batted .250.
He contributed to the Rays reaching their first World Series by scoring the winning run as a pinch runner in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, tagging at third and scoring on a short fly ball by B. J. Upton in the bottom of the 11th inning.
During 2009 spring training, Perez was injured on March 10 during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays after trying to make a diving catch. He left the game, and missed significant time during the 2009 season.
He was activated from the disabled list and was called up in the roster expansions and filled in for the injured B. J. Upton in September. He was one of six Ivy Leaguers on major league rosters at the beginning of the 2009 season.
He played the entire 2010 season with the AAA Durham Bulls.
On January 8, 2011, Perez was traded to the Chicago Cubs with Matt Garza and minor league pitcher Zac Rosscup for Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Chris Archer and Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld. He was released on July 8, after hitting .238 for the AAA Iowa Cubs and seeing no time in the majors in 2011.
Perez signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets on July 18, 2011, and was assigned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Perez became a free agent after the 2011 season and did not sign with any team, eventually taking the 2012 season off.
In 2013, he played for the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League. He retired from baseball in 2014.
In 2015 Perez signed on as a baseball analyst with MLB.com. Perez contributes a column called "Recovering Ballplayer" to Vice Sports. While injured during the 2009 season, Perez also wrote for a The New York Times baseball blog.