Let’s start the week with an up-and-coming young catcher and a veteran reliever hanging on by the skin of his teeth…
Salvador Perez | C | Royals | Owned: 39% Yahoo!
A trendy breakout pick for 2012, Perez’s season debut was delayed because of a knee injury. He returned to the Royals late last month and has hit .350/.373/.600 (.408 wOBA and 160 wRC+) in 83 plate appearances, building on last season’s .331/.361/.473 (.361 wOBA and 127 wRC+) performance. In a whopping 241 big league plate appearances, Perez owns a .338/.365/.518 batting line (.377 wOBA and 160 wRC+).
Now obviously a performance like that is unlikely to last. Very, very few catchers can sustain something like that, especially once the wear-and-tear of the position sets in. That doesn’t mean he won’t be very good, however. Perez doesn’t strike out (10.8 K%) and doesn’t walk (4.1 BB%), so he puts a ton of balls in play and is conducive to high BABIPs. His minor league rates — 9.9 K% and 5.2 BB% — are nearly identical, meaning this is no fluke. He can get the bat on the ball with the best of them.
Although he has five homers already this season, Perez has never been much of a power guy and probably won’t be going forward. Instead you’re looking at the rare catcher capable of hitting .300+ if not .310+ plus. The list of backstops who can do that consistently starts and ends with Joe Mauer. If you’re willing to take the hit in the run production departments — Perez routinely bats seventh or eighth and doesn’t get many RBI chances — and need to boost your team average the rest of the way, dumping your starting catcher for the Kansas City backstop might be the best possible move you can make.
Francisco Cordero | RP | Astros | Owned: 30% Yahoo!
Oh the joys of real life trades and fantasy baseball. At this time last week Cordero was completely unrosterable in all formats because he was arguably the least effective reliever in the game. Now he has a closer’s gig — confirmed by the team — after being traded to the Astros while Brett Myers was shipped to the White Sox. That means saves despite a 5.60 ERA and 5.44 FIP.
Of course there’s always a chance the Astros will look to flip Cordero to a bullpen needy team after he picks up some of those shiny saves teams are always willing to pay for. The trade deadline may be in a week, but he’s a prime August trade candidate. Cordero’s reign as closer could be short but stealing a handful of saves is always a help. Just cross your fingers and hope he doesn’t blow up until he’s traded and becomes a middle reliever again.