In the modern day, making the prediction of a good player making the All Star team is hardly a groundbreaking proclamation. Last year, and this is without looking up the exact number due to general apathy toward the All Star selection process, there were 113 players on the All Star team. Again, that number is officially unofficial. So, in the context of this piece, All Star isn’t being used in a literal sense but in a figurative sense. Considering Bryan LaHair was an actual All Star in 2012, being a literal All Star doesn’t require actually being good at baseball.
So, in as purely a figurative sense as possible, Royals catcher Salvador Perez appears to be on the verge of an All Star career. In 2012, after missing the first 67 games of the season following a March knee injury, Perez built upon his unexpected success from his rookie season, putting up 2.6 fWAR on the strength of solid offensive production for a catcher and some of the best defense in all of baseball.
In 2011, as a rookie with limited prospect pedigree, Perez’s stat line of .331/.361/.473 in 39 games appeared to be nothing more than the product of a fluke small sample size. His .362 BABIP and mediocre plate discipline supported this theory. His sophomore season did not. In 2012, as his BABIP dropped to a much more sustainable .299, Perez continued to hit. Across 76 games and 305 plate appearances, Perez hit 11 home runs with good counting stats (38 runs, 39 RBI). On an advanced metric level, his wOBA (.340) and wRC+ (114) were near identical matches for another of baseball’s bright young stars, Matt Wieters (.331 wOBA, 106 wRC+). To make Perez’s offensive production even more impressive, he put up that line as a 22-year old. When Wieters was 22, he was playing college baseball for Georgia Tech.
Defensively, incredibly enough, Perez is an even more advanced product than he is offensively. In 2012, he led all of baseball by throwing out 41.9% of runners during stolen base attempts. Stealing bases against Kansas City became near impossible once Perez took over behind the dish, and his arm will remain an asset for the Royals going forward. His success at controlling the running game was no one-time occurrence, as throughout his time in the minors, he received plus grades on his throwing arm and throwing accuracy. The only skill Perez lacks from a defensive perspective is handling pitches in the dirt, but with a full year of health to his credit, he’ll likely improve in this area before opening day.
Despite entering his third season as a big leaguer, he’s notably younger than many of his contemporaries still in the minor leagues Baseball's most heralded minor league catcher, Travis d’Arnaud of the Mets, is fifteen months older. Were Perez still in the minor leagues, he would be unanimously regarded as one of baseball’s best prospects, ranking right alongside Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras, and Dylan Bundy. But instead of appearing on scout’s lists of the best minor leaguers in the game, he’s honing his skills at baseball’s highest level.
Kansas City’s farm system routinely receives heaps of praise for its wealth of talent, and oddly enough, it is one of the team’s overlooked youngsters who is on the verge of becoming the best of the bunch. Salvador Perez is another productive season away from being a figurative All Star, and if the rest of baseball takes notice, he’ll be a literal one, too.
stats courtesy of
stats courtesy of