Sell High Candidate: Is Salvador Perez Back To Being Elite Or Is He A Disaster Waiting To Happen?

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There was a time where Salvador Perez was considered one of the premier offensive catchers in the game, but he struggled to hit for a strong average in ’18 (.235 with 27 HR) before missing all of ’19. It was fair to wonder what to expect in 2020, but he ultimately flourished:

.333 (50-150), 11 HR, 32 RBI, 22 R, 1 SB

Now the question is just how real were those numbers? It’s obvious he has power, as that’s been his strength in recent years… That said can he really maintain this type of pace? Just look at some of the underlying metrics:

  • HR/FB – 25.6%
  • Flyball Rate – 37.4%
  • Launch Angle – 14.2
  • Exit Velocity – 91 mph

The Launch Angle was down, as he had posted marks of 18+ from 2016-2018. That alone tells us that he’s not going to maintain a 25.6% HR/FB, and while more flyballs would help to ease that concern there’s reason to be cautious in terms of his power.

As for the average, the one mark we need to know is his .375 BABIP. It doesn’t matter how hard he was hitting the ball (42.6% Hard%) or that he was hitting fewer flyballs. The fact is he’s a slow, pull heavy (17.4% Oppo%) catcher and there is little chance that he’s capable of maintaining that type of mark.

Even if you want to argue that the power will help him maintain an elevated average, he owns a career 12.4% HR/FB. He also owns a career .287 BABIP and struggles with his approach, as he posted a 14.2% SwStr% and 47.2% O-Swing% last season.

The fact is that he is going to be a strong option for fantasy owners, but slotting him near the top of the rankings could prove to be a mistake. Instead of overpaying for Perez, we’d much rather wait it out and find value later in the draft (or sell high on him in keeper formats).

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant

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