- Full name Salvador Johan Perez
- Born 05/10/1990 in Valencia, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 255 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/10/2011
Organization Prospect Rankings
After serving as Wilmington's starting catcher during the first half of last season, Perez shared the job with Wil Myers in the second half. The reduced workload paid off as Perez hit .318/.343/.432 after the all-star break. He already was the best defensive catcher in the system, and he now shows as much offensive potential as any Royals backstop prospect besides Myers. Perez has slightly above-average arm strength and threw out 42 percent of basestealers in 2010. He does a good job of framing pitches, handling velocity and calling a game. He makes consistent contact and has some gap power, though he rarely draws a walk. The biggest concern with Perez is his lack of speed. He grades as a 25 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale right now, and he already has a thick lower half at age 20. If he continues to gain wait, he'll enter the Molina Zone and his mobility as a catcher could be affected. If Myers continues to catch in 2011, Perez either will split time with him again in Double-A or return to Wilmington to get more action behind the plate. If Myers does move to the outfield, Perez becomes Kansas City's catcher of the future.
The Royals faced a logjam of catching prospects at low Class A Burlington last year with Perez, Jose Bonilla and Sean McCauley. Rather than leave one of them back in extended spring training, the organization tried to spread the work between the trio and send the less-polished Bonilla back to Idaho Falls once the Pioneer League started in June. It proved tough for any of the three to get into a grove offensively or defensively with such irregular work, but Bonilla had a hot June so the Royals decided to demote Perez instead. The move worked wonders for Perez, who proved to be one of the better catchers in the Pioneer League, showing a solid gap-to-gap approach at the plate as well as above-average defense. His catch-and-throw skills make it likely he'll be a big leaguer. He has a tick above-average arm, receives the ball well and handles a pitching staff like a veteran. He threw out 33 percent of basestealers in 2009. What he lacks is athleticism and projection at the plate, which may just make him a solid backup at the big league level. He's a well below-average runner. Kansas City must deal with another catching surplus in 2010, with Wil Myers ready for low Class A. It's possible that Perez will jump to Wilmington because his defensive skills may be best-suited for handling what should be a talented pitching staff.
The Royals have a clear need for catching help, but their top catching prospects are years away from the majors. Perez is the best of the bunch, as the 18-year-old Venezuelan combines solid defensive skills with a potentially potent bat. A twisted ankle cost him nearly half of his 2008 season. At 6-foot-3, he doesn't have a typical backstop's build, but the Royals compare his body to Sandy Alomar's. Perez sets a good target behind the plate, shows soft hands and does a decent job of blocking balls in the dirt. His arm rates a 55 on the 20-80 scouting scale, though it plays a tick better than that because of his quick exchange. He threw out 45 percent of basestealers last season. At the plate, Perez is slowly gaining strength, which is paying off in improved bat speed. He's still not a power hitter, but he caught up to fastballs last year that would have blown him away in 2007. His swing is still a little lengthy, and it likely always will be because of his long arms, but he showed an improved path to the ball in 2008. He should get his first taste of full-season ball with a move to low Class A in 2009.
Minor League Top Prospects
Perez put himself on the Royals' radar with a good season in high Class A in 2010, then broke out in 2011. He opened the season with Northwest Arkansas and earned a promotion to Triple-A in late July before making his major league debut two weeks later. He hit .331/.361/.473 in 148 at-bats for Kansas City and will go into spring training next year as the Royals' likely starting catcher. Perez's calling card is defense. He controls the running game and erased a TL-high 48 percent of basestealers thanks to a strong, accurate arm and a quick release, recording pop times of 1.9 seconds. He has a thick lower half and is a well below-average runner, but he has soft hands and moves well behind the plate. He's a leader and works well with pitchers. Perez took a step forward at the plate when he started making adjustments and stopped swinging at as many bad pitches and pulling off balls. He's still a free swinger, yet he doesn't pile up big strikeout numbers. He doesn't offer a lot of power but can drive balls to the alleys.
Perez continued to catch semi-regularly even after Myers arrived in Idaho Falls at the end of August. Signed out of Venezuela after the 2006 season, Perez hit .361 in 25 Rookie-ball games last year, prompting an assignment to low Class A Burlington this April. He struggled in the cold Midwest League weather, batting .189 with little power in 36 games. A return to the Pioneer League suited Perez, who showed off his solid hitting instincts, average overall defensive tools and strong leadership skills. He concentrates on making contact and likes to use the middle of the field. That approach figures to produce high averages and good strikeout-walk ratios, but not a whole lot of power. Perez already stands 6-foot-3 and weights about 200 pounds, making him larger than the average catcher. One scout thought his actions were a bit stiff and projected him as a future backup. But Perez receives well and shows a quick transfer and plus arm strength, allowing him to throw out 33 percent of basestealers at Idaho Falls. His blocking is less refined.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the American League in 2014
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the American League in 2013
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Kansas City Royals in 2011
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Carolina League in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Kansas City Royals in 2010
- Rated Best Defensive Catcher in the Kansas City Royals in 2009
- Venezuela activated C Salvador Perez.