Salvador Perez, to me, is one of the more overrated players in baseball.
Defining “overrated” is a largely subjective endeavor, but, to me, he has received praise and exposure in a volume not commensurate with his abilities. Yes, he was part of a world-championship club, and he was of course heavily involved as its catcher. Still, his production is not that of an All-Star.
He’s posted three straight seasons of sub-.290 on-base percentages, wRC+ numbers of 91 or less. He’s a below-average hitter, and he doesn’t stand out at the game’s most challenged offensive position outside of pitcher. MLB catchers combined for a .310 on-base mark last season and an 87 wRC+. Perez posted an 88 wRC+.
In an age when pitch-framing has been quantified and now prized, Perez was rated as the worst framer in baseball last season, according to StatsCorner. Perez, like Matt Wieters, might have a framing problem in part because, at 6-foot-5, he’s unusually tall for a catcher. According to BWARP, which includes framing value, Perez has been worth an average of 0.5 WAR per season since 2014. Half a win! This is a player who has been invited to participate in four straight All-Star games. There’s a disconnect here.
What he does do well is stay on the field and throw out baserunners.
While Perez isn’t highly regarded as a receiver, he does lead all catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (39) since 2013, which accounts for catcher defense without considering framing. Perez led the AL last season by throwing out 48% of attempted stolen-base runners. His 35% rate over the course of his career is well above the league average of 28% over that six-year span.
While health is in part a skill, and while he has a strong arm, the overall profile is not one of an All-Star, let alone a quality regular. Unless, I’m missing something. And I think I might have been missing something. I wasn’t aware how dramatic Perez’s first-half and second-half splits were until watching MLB Network’s top-10 catcher show via DVR the other night.
Salvador Perez, Career Splits
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