If you generally knew about the state of the catcher position last year and I told you Salvador Perez managed nearly 140 games and hit 22 HRs, where would you project his finish?
Probably not 12th among catchers. Or as the 706th overall player on Yahoo’s player rater.
The 26 year-old Kansas City backstop’s new career high in homers was not enough to offset other losses in his profile. Perez’s lack of discipline at the dish finally resulted in a huge strikeout surge (from 14.8% in 2015 to 21.8% in 2016). The ballooning strikeout rate caused Perez to hit a meager .247 and since he rarely walks (4% BB rate), Perez’s OBP was a mere .288.
The result is a player, who hits for good power for the position, but is middling in his counting stat production and worse in ratios (AVG, OBP, OPS). Plus, Perez does not have a discernible platoon split so you have no avenue for maximizing his production if you’re in a league with a decent bench size.
Salvador Perez was often going between the top 100 and 125 players off the board. Simply put, he was a catcher that you needed to pay up for. If you played the waiting game at catcher, you may have snagged Wilson Ramos or Yasmani Grandal in the draft or picked up Evan Gattis or Gary Sanchez during the season and enjoyed much better production.
In one catcher leagues with deep benches, I have advocated a unique two-catcher approach, where you do not spend up on the position, but draft two catchers. This maximizes the at-bats that you get from the position – giving you more opportunities to collect counting stats while maximizing the each player’s production utilizing splits. Perez is the antithesis of that strategy because there is no apparent way to maximize his production via splits.
In one catcher formats regardless of bench size, I previously had no interest and that remains the same unless Perez’s ADP is drastically reduced this year.
Admittedly, the volume makes him attractive in two-catcher formats, but even in that format, there is a limit to the amount of resources I am willing to invest.
Also despite a significant track record of health and relative youth, Perez has a lot of miles at a position that takes a physical toll on the body. Perez played 128 games behind the plate last year ranking second in the league and over the last three years, he has played 31 more regular season games than any other catcher. That number does not include the 31 playoff games that Perez caught in 2014 and 2015.
I do not believe that Perez offers the upside to warrant the likely investment price and worry about significant downside in his profile.
Projection: 115 G, 16 HR, 45 R, 52 RBI .241/.290/.430