2013 Projection: Can Salvador Perez Emerge As a Top 5 Catcher In 2013?

Still just 22-years old, Salvador Perez has made quite an impression over the past two seasons. Yes, injury cost him the opening of the 2012 campaign, but in parts of two seasons he has now amassed 437 AB, the equivalent of a full season for many starting catchers. Over that time, there are two things that should have opened our eyes:

  1. When healthy Perez is capable of being a rare everyday catcher
  2. The statistics overall (.311, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 58 R)

He is a big man, listed at 6’3″ and 245 pounds, and you can tell he is just starting to scratch the surface of his power potential. His 11 HR last season came courtesy of a realistic 13.1% HR/FB, a number that could easily continue to improve (as could his 31.7% fly ball rate).

While it’s not a given, seeing him eclipse 20 HR in 2013 should be considered a very realistic possibility.

Then you have the average, where he has the potential to push Joe Mauer as the games elite among catchers. First, all you have to do is look at his line drive rates from the portions of hs first two seasons:

  • 2011 – 29.2%
  • 2012 – 24.2%

Yes, it is easy to label 2011 as inflated, but he has proven that he can hit the ball with authority on a consistent basis. Now, couple that with the ability to consistently make contact and you have a perennial .300+ threat. Over his first two seasons Perez has posted a 10.2% strikeout rate. Over his minor league career he whiffed 139 times in 1,278 AB, so there is no reason to think that he can’t maintain it.

So, you have a .300 hitter with 20 HR potential? How many of those are really available behind the plate?

In 2010 there was one (Victor Martinez)
In 2011 there was one (Mike Napoli)
In 2012 there were two (Buster Posey & Yadier Molina)

That’s four players over the past three years and on two occasions (Molina and Napoli), it was completely unexpected. In other words, the potential for Perez to reach these types of plateaus alone make him a potential Top 5 catching option.

Now, throw in the potential to drive in runs as part of a Royals offense that should improve dramatically and there is an awful lot to like. Granted, he’s not going to score a boatload of runs, given his lack of speed, but how many catchers really do?

So how exactly do his numbers stack up for 2013?  Here’s the projection:

.305 (168-550), 24 HR, 55 RBI, 70 R, 0 SB, .304 BABIP, .338 OBP, .495 SLG

Perez has a ton working in his favor at this point (even if his power falls short of our projected mark), especially since many others in your league will not value him quite as highly. There is no reason to overdraft a catcher, when the value is there with Perez later in the draft.

What are your thoughts of Perez?  Do you think he can reach these projections in 2013?  Why or why not?

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Make sure to check out all of our 2013 projections:

Fantasy Throwdown: Jason Heyward vs. Adam Jones: Which Emerging Outfielder Offers More 2013 Value?
Prospect Report: Will Julio Teheran's Results Match His Talent In 2013?

6 comments

  1. sats says:

    I think the Rbi number looks a little low considering he was batting in the 5th spot(I think)when he came back from the injury. If Hosmer picks his game up,and Perez is moved down in the order, those numbers look really good! I`ll take those #`s all day!

  2. Bbboston says:

    With those projections, really top three?

  3. Marky Mark says:

    I wish there was room on my roster to keep Perez…but I’m going to have to just hope he slides until my first pick, which will be around #130.

  4. Ross says:

    I got him at around 120th in my draft! With a couple guys clamoring for him so it will be close. then was able to grab Yadi in a trade. So if Perez developes like he should I can trade Yadi for a kings ransom, and keep Perez. If Perez falters I can stick with Yadi…hoping for the former though

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    sat – It may be, but we’ll have to see if he continues to hit fifth. he was really only there because of the struggles of the rest of the lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slide back down a few spots.

    Bbboston – It wouldn’t surprise me, but it’s hard to go into the year putting him there, as many would call Top 5 a stretch.

    Ross – That’s definitely a nice 1-2 to have!

  6. Jamie says:

    FYI for anyone in ESPN leagues- they have him ranked at 203 overall! Might be the best value in the draft this year

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