Little by little, the Royals are working their best young minor leaguers closer to the majors. Today, two potential impact players were promoted to Omaha.
Salvador Perez, the prospective catcher of the future, has made it to Triple A at the ripe age of 21 years old. Perez, considered an elite defensive talent, threw out 43 of 90 potential base stealers in Northwest Arkansas in 2011. He has a career 43% success rate in the minors in limited would-be thieves.
Kelvin Herrera, who was in the All-Star Futures game at the All-Star Break, has a 52/8 K/BB ratio in 50.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen.
Herrera, also 21, has a 1.42 ERA in two levels. He was promoted from Wilmington earlier this year.
To make room for the two, Mario Santiago and Manuel Pina were sent from Omaha to Northwest Arkansas. Santiago has had a rough year in Triple A and Pina, who’s on the 40 man roster, put up a .738 OPS in Omaha. He’s more of a defensive catcher and may have been sent down to get regular work and have influence on Double A pitchers.
Perez has been on fire since the All-Star break, with a .333/.374/.571 line and five homers in 22 games. He’s hit .405/.463/.703 in his last ten games and hit a grand slam on Sunday and again on Tuesday.
What it means for the Royals is that Perez has a very good shot to be the every day catcher next year, despite his age. The only question will be his bat, as he’s a natural (no pun intended) behind the plate. He was our #20 prospect entering the year, and his progress will have him jump up those rankings next year.