Monday, March 12, 2012

Catching Royalty

By Corey R. Cunningham

The Kansas City Royals and catcher Salvador Perez have agreed on a new 5yr deal worth $7MM. This is big news out of Kansas City, as they have locked up the young 21 yr old starting catcher for at least another 5 yrs. The Royals are excited about their new contract with the youngster who will be catching the Royals top pitching prospects for years to come.

Perez spent his first 3 seasons of the minor leagues in rookie ball. He doesn’t have much pop to his bat, but he does hit for contact, and the Royals like to hit for contact, and there prospects now are coming around bringing power to the contact city. Perez batted .306, 64 RBI, 123 H, .762 OPS, and 45 K in 402 AB during the 3 seasons of rookie ball. In 2010 Perez was promoted to High-A Wilmington, he caught in 85 of the 99 games he played in. Perez once again put up solid contact numbers, and just a tad bit of power hitting 7 HR. He had one complete season of High-A Wilmington where his numbers looked like this: .290 BA, 106 H, 365 AB, 22 EBH, 18 BB, 38 K, and OPS of .732.

In 2011 Perez split time between AA Northwest Arkansas, and AAA Omaha, although ¾ of his games were in AA. Perez caught in 88 out of 91 games during his AA and AAA stint. Perez put up solid numbers while in AA, .283 BA, 81 H, 286 AB, 9 HR, 14 EBH, .756 OPS. This was one of his better seasons with the limited number of ABs he received, and I believe this may have been when the Royals realized they needed to lock Perez up to a long term contract. Though Perez has more of a defensive upside to him, rather than offensive, he will still be targeted during draft day, however, not in the minor league drafts, as he has MLB experience. Perez played in 39 MLB games, with a line of .331 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 20 R. Although he has no speed he will certainly score runs in the lineup that is coming very alive.

The Kansas City Royals I believe will be the 2nd Wild card winner this year, for the first time in MLB to have 2 wild card teams playing a one game playoff. Though this may be a bit of a reach for a prediction, I believe the offense is there, although the pitching will need to be clearly focused. Soria will need to be on his game during save situations, and the bullpen will need to save the SP a lot during the season. Not really sure of this prediction but perhaps in the Royals are in contention come June, the name ‘Oswalt’ just may appear in KC.

I would think Perez would end up in the 7th hold in the lineup and this offense should produce runs to keep up with the rest of the top AL contenders. Francoeur, Hosmer, Moustakas, Gordon, and Butler. Those 5 guys have the ability to each hit 25 HR, and off the top of my head I cannot remember to many teams having 5 guys with 25+ HR. If you miss out on your catcher, I would wait it out and draft Perez around the 20th round. My Prediction for Perez: .295 BA, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 3 SB

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