Fantasy Baseball Catcher Profiles: Salvador Perez

The Hype

Going into the 2013 season, Salvador Perez was a name most fantasy baseball enthusiasts had circled on their draft sheets. Many were expecting a great season from the young backstop. Instead, we got to see a preview of what is to come.

The preseason hype machine was in full swing before the season began. Some people had expectation levels for Salvador Perez before the season that were rather unrealistic. This is usually the case with young prospects with a high ceiling. The expectations are usually way beyond the capabilities of a young player adjusting to life at the big league level.

 

Reality

He got off to a decent start in April and people took notice as he hit .369 in the month of May. Unfortunately, when you hit in the eight-hole, opportunities for run production do not present themselves very often. He finished with 7 RBI’s along with 7 runs scored. Not the types of production fantasy players were looking for. Things began to look up as the month of June began.

 

The Breakout

As he continued to hit in the first week of June, Perez was promoted to the third spot in the lineup. He responded with a .284 average with 3 homeruns, 16 RBI’s, and 11 runs scored. Finally the Salvador Perez everyone expected before the season had finally arrived.

In August and September the tremendous upside came to fruition as he hit a combined .316 clubbing 9 HR’s and driving in 37. He was rewarded with the Royals player of the month for September as he hit a blistering .352.

He stood out among catchers with 100 or more games played, ranking third in RBI’s and fourth in batting average. His 13 homeruns ranked 16th among all catchers with 70+ games played.

 

The Future

He hit nine homeruns in the second half of the season while hitting mostly from the three and four holes in the order. His power is still developing, but he is not far from reaching his power potential. I see him hitting 18-20 homers next season. Perez’s HR/FB% through the last two months of the season was above 17%. A percentage above 15% for the season will be sustainable next season.

He will hit above .300 at some point in his career as a full time starter. He hit .302 in 2012 with 305 part time at-bats. I believe .300+ can come as soon as next season if he can sustain a BABIP above .320. If he gets some breaks you could even see an average between .305 and .310. He has shown high BABIP rates throughout his professional career this should translate to an average above .300 in 2014.

His development will have a lot to do with the type of pitches he will see hitting in front of Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler. Pitchers will elect to throw to Perez instead of challenging Hosmer and Butler, especially if one or both of them have good seasons next year.

He hits in a very enviable position in the lineup with an offense that will steadily improve as their young hitters gain more experience. An obstacle for the Royals remains on base percentage.

The Royals finished a mediocre 16th in OBP in the majors last season. Salvador Perez might hit in the heart of the order but the players hitting in front of him will cost him some RBI opportunities next season. I still see him with 85 RBI’s next year, which is close to the 79 RBI’s he tallied this season.

 

First base eligibility

Salvador Perez started at first base for the Royals in the last game of the season.

It was a preview of things to come, as Manager Ned Yost wants Perez to man first base when Eric Hosmer needs a breather against left handed pitching next season.

It will be a platoon similar to what Minnesota uses with Joe Mauer. It will also allow Billy Butler to stay at DH and keep Perez’s bat in the lineup giving him a breather from catching duties.

Expect Salvador Perez to gain first base eligibility by the all-star break next season.

He will get reps at first base when he plays winter ball in his home country of Venezuela in the offseason.

 

Conclusion

You have to include Salvador Perez in your list of young players to target. The fact that he plays a scarce position and will likely gain first base eligibility makes him that much more valuable going into next season.

His youth will serve him well at the demanding catcher position so you won’t have to worry about his body breaking down. There will be many fantasy team owners who will regret not drafting Salvador Perez next season. Don’t be one of them.

Topics: Catcher, Kansas City Royals, Salvador Perez

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