Who: Salvador Perez
DOB: 05/10/1990, Valencia, Venezuela
Weight: 175 lb
Acquired: International free agent – 9/27/06
~ Baseball America: #17
~ Royals Prospects: #15
~ Royals Review #20
~ Kevin Goldstein: #20
~ John Sickels: #18 C
|Rk (3 seasons)||Rk||453||20||5||3||64||31||45||.306||.359||.403||.762|
|A (1 season)||A||137||6||0||0||7||6||15||.189||.230||.236||.466|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||396||21||1||7||53||18||38||.290||.322||.411||.732|
When the Royals moved Wil Myers to the outfield (or at least officially acknowledged that this was the plan), it vaulted Perez to the top of the catching prospect charts. Long saddled without a true catching prospect, the Royals now have plenty – Manuel Pina is on the 40 man roster, Luke May was named to the “32nd team” by Baseball America in their prospect handbook, and there’s even the young Korean prospect Shin Jin-Ho way down the pipe.
Perez is the best of the bunch. He’ll turn 21 this season and might be seeing time in Double A by midseason if not earlier. For a position that’s so demanding physically and mentally, that’s very impressive for his age. He’s only been catching since he was 16 when he converted from third base. He talked with Greg Schaum about the transition and what is important for a catcher to do well – and from his comments, it seems that Perez has it put together.
He comes across as a good guy and carries a reputation for working well with a pitching staff.
It doesn’t hurt that he can swing a bat.
After some struggles in 2009 saw him sent down a level, he came back in 2010 with a vengeance, posting career highs in homers, doubles, RBI and posted a .732 OPS. He’s not a masher by any means, but he’s struck out just a hair under 10% of the time as a pro. He’s hardly walked in that same period, but it’s something that could develop as he gets older. The bat control is particularly impressive and could help him coax more walks, especially if he’s starting to gain power.
Like Myers, Perez is a tall hitter – 6’3″ – but has less meat on his bones. Strength and conditioning can build that up. Any hitting he provides will be a bonus, though. Perez will make the majors on the strength of his receiving ability.
“Salvador Perez has really kind of jumped to the forefront. He’s can really catch and throw. He’s got great leadership skills, blocks extremely well, throws extremely well,” Picollo said
In his career, Perez has gunned down 39% of would be base stealers. He’s not the most athletic player – how many catchers are? – but he has a polished catch and throw ability that helps him get a quick, strong throw to the fielder in time to record the out. After a few years of John Buck and Jason Kendall, Royals fans will be more than ready to see a catcher who can act as a true deterrent to another team’s running game.
Perez was a Carolina League All-Star in 2010 and went on to play in the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Rafters. He got into 11 games, hitting just .211/.250/.342/.542 in 40 plate appearances. It’s a small sample size, but he was also against pitchers from Double A and Triple A in some cases. To suggest he might have been overmatched would probably be fair. As he gains experience, though, he could develop into a strong defensive catcher who can do at least well enough at the plate to play everyday.
Maturity? Check. Advanced feel for the game? Check. Good arm? Check. Handles a pitching staff well? Check. Occasional pop in the bat? Check.
It’s no surprise that Perez is one of the trendy breakout candidates in the Royals minor league system for 2011.
Keep track of the full list of prospects in the Kings of Kauffman Countdown on our Prospect Rankings page under the Organization tab or by clicking here. Stay current on all the Kings of Kauffman content and news by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or by way of our RSS feed.