Profile: C - 6'3" - 175lbs -BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 21
• Hit: 35-45
• Power: 30-40
• Eye: 30-40
• Range: 30-30
• Hands: 60-65
• Arm: 60-65
• Run: 30-30
Perez, a 2006 international signing out of Venezuela, has spent a long time toiling away in the lower levels of the Royals farm system, but emerged in 2010 as a possible catching option in the future for the Royals, and now that the franchise has moved top prospect Wil Myers from behind the plate, Perez has become, almost by default, the top catching prospect in the system.
A defense first catcher, he has an above average arm with a polished transfer and quick release. He moves well and can smoother the errant pitch more often than not, though he does have room to improve. Pitchers like that he calls a good game and the coaching staffs have trusted him to take care of their pitchers.
Where Perez is strong behind the plate, his skills at the plate are lacking. Despite having spent parts of four seasons within the Royals system, he's yet to have any sort of sustained offensive success at any level. He's had moments but for the most part his swing has been defined by his lack of natural bat speed. Perez does have some pull power, but for the most part, relies on staying inside the ball and using the opposite field. While that approach saps most of the power he'd have naturally, it does allow him to make consistent contact and he will put a lot of balls in play.
We'll start with the good. Perez managed to post 24 extra base hits in just under 300 plate appearances, his best sustained power performance at any level in any season. He also makes very good contact, generally striking out in around 10% of his at-bats, which means he puts a lot of balls in play, allowing him to hit for slightly better averages than others.
Now the bad. First of all, his line drive rates aren't very good, or at least they haven't been good on a consistent basis. While he does put a lot of balls in play, he doesn't square them up nearly often enough to project for sustained average or power. In addition to that, he pretty steadfastly refuses to take a walk. As friend of CiF Mike Engel points out in his profile of Perez, he's walked just 55 times in over 1,000 plate appearances. That means whatever average he does hit for wont be augmented by any additional OBP.
He projects as someone who can provide MLB caliber defense at a defense first position, but his .732 OPS in A ball last year doesn't project well as he moves up the ladder. Still, a just 22 there is time for improvement. Unfortunately, for him to stick as a regular at catcher, quite a bit of improvement will likely need to occur. Still, he's got himself on the radar. For now, all I see is a defense-first backup.
Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.