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Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANAYZER: SALVADOR PEREZ CATCHER KANSAS CITY ROYALS

                                                             Salvador PĂ©rez

When it came to last season's prime fantasy baseball draft sleepers as posted by yours truly, one name that kept coming up was Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez.  The rare catcher who can hit .300 who was coming off a 2012 campaign where he finished as hot as any hitter in the game on the way to 11 home runs in only 289 at-bats, Perez was clearly on the upswing at a shallow position which made me push him on your at a very high level.  However Perez started out making me look bad last season as he went into the All Star Break hitting .284 with a grand total of only 4 home runs.  Needless to say more than a few e-mails came in reminding me of how I missed the boat on that prediction.  Fantasy baseball is a marathon and not a sprint though and Perez came through in the end by going on another second half tear to the tune of a .303 average with 9 home runs.  In the end Perez' final 2013 numbers looked like this:

.292 13 HR 79 RBI 48 R 0 SB

So for the second season in a row, Perez finished as a top ten fantasy baseball catcher with little to no fanfare.  The .292 average followed up 2012's .301 mark which speaks to how well Perez handles the strike zone and how he is that rare catcher who can help you in that category.  Owners of guys like Carlos Santana, Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Matt Wieters can all tell you how frustrating the bad average a catcher brings can be.  Perez instead will give you a boost there even though he doesn't walk too much.  In addition, Perez has a decent but not great home runs swing that still has some untapped potential since he is only turning 24 this season . That means Perez has at least three more years to go before he reaches his prime and so an uptick in home runs is very possible and even likely.  While predicting 20 is a bit of a reach at this point, 15-18 is in the ballpark to go with possibly as many as 80 RBI.  While Perez was buried a bit too low in the lineup last season (mostly between 6-8), the team has said publicly they are ready to move him up and give him more responsibility on that front. 

As far as the rest of the numbers are concerned, Perez won't score much more than 50 runs unless he does move up in the order.  Also forget about speed as Perez has not stolen a base during the last two seasons.  The catching fraternity is not known for their speed however so nothing to worry about there.

All in all, Salvador Perez is on a nice upward plane in his development and he should be owned as a rock solid top ten fantasy baseball catcher.  The draft price will come cheap as the sleeper rub has worn off but Perez can easily supply you a .300 average with around 15 home runs and 75 RBI which is very nice numbers from a catcher.  I am buying.

2014 PROJECTION:  .294 16 HR 75 RBI 54 R 1 SB

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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