Heading into this season, Salvador Perez was a trendy pick for those who were diligent with their homework. He wasn’t exactly considered mainstream, but he also wasn’t considered a hidden gem or sleeper either. The now 23-year old Kansas City backstop was somewhere right in the middle. His somewhat impressive 39-game cup of coffee in 2011 helped put him on the map but a knee injury in the spring of 2012 took him right off as he missed the entire first half. But many still kept tabs on him and when he returned to the field in July of 2012, he put on a second-half display that immediately recaptured the attention of those fantasy owners still cultivating their teams. Now, during a season where some would call Perez’ overall performance a disappointment, he is finishing the year on an extremely high note and salvaging what many thought was lost.
When the spring of 2013 hit, numerous fantasy players targeted Perez somewhere around the eighth or ninth round, just outside the top 10 at the position. He was still somewhat unproven, but after an impressive power display during his half-season in 2012, many thought that power would continue to blossom and expectations began to run a little high. He was always supposed to be a .300 hitter, but now he was adding power to his repertoire and was all the more enticing a pick.
But a slow start in April where he finished the month batting .267 with one home run and nine RBI caused many to lose faith. His contact rates were below-average, he still couldn’t seem to draw a walk and suddenly the guy who was supposed to do it all, wasn’t. His bat finally started to come around in May and he began to bring those contact rates back to a level we had grown to expect from him. He still couldn’t draw a walk, but his performance at the plate was impressive as he posted a .369 average for the month with a .388 on-base percentage. Unfortunately though, the power never emerged and he was stuck on that one home run until he finally connected for one on June 7.
And so things went for our beloved hero — peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys. He would go on a 10-game hot streak but then miss time with a bruised hip. He came back strong and was swinging a big bat, but then ended up on the bereavement list to spend time with his family after the death of his grandmother. He returned to the lineup for a few good games but then missed a few more with a leg issue. Things got back on track but were quickly derailed again with a trip to the 7-day DL for a concussion. To say that the majority of the season was filled with frustration would be an understatement.
Until August 23rd…
That was when Perez apologized to his fantasy owners in the best possible way — his bat caught fire and it still hasn’t cooled off. Since that day, he is batting .392 (33-for-84) and has posted a .386 on-base percentage, bringing his season-long totals to .291 and .324; still not his usual totals, but given some of the cold spells he endured this year, there is little about which to complain. And best of all, during this performance, he has hit an impressive six home runs with 23 RBI. Those numbers more than doubled his home run total and increased his RBI by 33.3-percent. He has heated up at just the right time — the home stretch for roto leagues and the championship week for head to head leagues.
This much welcomed-outburst with the bat is doing again what his second half in 2012 had done. He is back on the map. He is a fixture on the radar of many a fantasy owner and this power display will undoubtedly raise the expectations of everyone drafting in 2014. He won’t come so cheap next year though as too many will think this power should and will be sustained for an entire season, no matter what his career ISO totals look like. But while the power may not rise, his level of consistency should, as he continues to mature and develop. If you own him right now, sit back and enjoy it while you can. To have him do it for you again next year, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.