There is a reason many people feel they can wait on rafting catchers, especially in one catcher formats. Just look at some of the top performers over the first three weeks of the season, which include John Buck, Evan Gattis and J.P. Arencibia. We’re any of those names high on your draft board?
On the other end of the spectrum, some of the most sought after names have struggles to get things going. Lets take a look at a few and try to figure out their upside moving forward:
Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
One of the more hyped young catchers entering the season, Perez is in no threat of losing his job. He entered play on Sunday hitting .258, despite producing a 28.0% line drive rate (he now owns a career 26.1% mark).
The problem has been an increased strikeout rate, which currently sits at 19.0% (he was at 8.9% last season). Considering that he was never above 12.7% in any season at any level, it is easy to chalk the early season number up to a small sample size.
We know he consistently hits the ball hard, has power that is starting to come to the surface and is assured playing time. In other words, everything is inline for him to really break out before long. If you did draft him you need to stay patient, keep him active and prepare to reap the benefits.
Jesus Montero – Seattle Mariners
Montero is a bit of a more concerning case, because the Mariners have Mike Zunino waiting at Triple-A and have already shown that they are willing to sit Montero in favor of Kelly Soppach.
However, the underlying numbers seem to indicate that things will improve. He currently has a 23.1% line drive rate (career mark of 24.7%), yet his BABIP sits at .256. Obviously something doesn’t add up there.
Throw in a strong contact rate (he owns a 14.6% strikeout rate), and it is obvious that he isn’t a .217 hitter. Sooner or later the hits are going to start falling.
If he is going to hit for the power we has hoped for is a different question. Still, he hit 15 HR a year ago and had 39 in 873 AB at Triple-A. He had some power outages last year as well, so we shouldn’t be too concerned yet. Things should come around, if given the time.
While he can be benched, for now, given his inconsistent play there is no reason to give up hope. He should get hot before long and, when he does, the Mariners won’t be able to justify having him on the bench.