1) Salvador Perez Turns Up The Power
Salvador Perez came into the league as a 240-pound slap hitter. He was such a hacker, with exceptional contact skills, that he could almost hit anything. As a result, he’d put a poor pitch into play without taking advantage of his tremendous raw power.
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Perez put up high batting averages early in his career, but with limited power numbers. The last few seasons, Salvador Perez struggled to learn how to sit on a pitch he can drive, and to become at least a little more selective at the plate.
Salvy is still a hacker, but his home run totals have improved from 13 in 2013, to 17 in 2014, and to a career-high 21 in 2015. Though his OPS has crashed from an excellent .834 in his rookie season to a below-average .706 in 2015, Perez was learning how to properly use his natural gifts. There really wasn’t much of a future for a 240-pound slap hitter with little to no speed.
In 2016, it appears that Perez has figured out his new approach. He’s slashing an outstanding .294/.322/.525 with 10 home runs. He’s on pace for a career-high 25 dingers, which makes him an elite catcher when you add in his three consecutive gold gloves. At age-26, Perez is realizing his full potential as a player.
Now we come to Tuesday night. Perez went 2-4 with 1 run scored and 2 RBI’s. With two outs in the eighth, Perez slammed a Travis Shaw pitch over the right field wall to erase a one-run deficit and put the Kansas City Royals up 3-2. It was an outstanding piece of hitting that he simply would not have been able to pull off early in his career.