January 14, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
Second, Short, and Catcher for 1/14/13
Owners that patiently sat on an injured Perez or were lucky enough to scoop him off the waiver wire when he was activated from the disabled list were rewarded with approximately half a season's worth of very good offensive production in 2012. It was an impressive follow-up to his eye-catching debut. The 22-year-old catcher has 463 career plate appearances under his belt, and while that's not enough to definitively call him an offensive star at his position, it's a good starting point.
Perez makes his hay by making a ton of contact. Amongst batters that saw more than 950 pitches last year, Perez ranked 11th in contact rate at 90.8 percent. His ability to get wood on the ball at a high rate is accompanied by an aggressive approach that helps explain his low walk rate. Perez's aggressive approach works because he's able to make hard, line-drive contact at a high rate. He profiles as a player that can hit north of .300 annually.
The most pleasant surprise in Perez's 2012 performance was the power he showcased. In only 305 plate appearances, he was able to clear the fences 11 times. It would be unwise to take that number and simply extrapolate it over a full season's worth of at-bats, but it does appear Perez is tapping into his raw power. He has been on fire in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he has muscled up for eight home runs in fewer than 150 at-bats.
Adding to Perez's fantasy value is the fact that he's a legitimate primary catcher that isn't stuck in a time share with a solid backup. He'll get all the work he can handle, and that should help him pad his counting stats. Perez has all the characteristics of a player that will be hyped as a sleeper or breakout candidate in fantasy circles. The truth is, his breakout has already begun, but the uncertainty around just how much power he'll hit for prevents him from earning a fringe label in “Medium” keeper leagues.