So far, Salvador Perez has been the very definition of a .300 hitter. He hits line drives as hard as they can be hit, but his plate discipline has been terrible. It hasn’t hurt him much because he can still crush balls in on his hands or outside the zone. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to imagine that he’ll be able to consistently hit .300 with such limited plate discipline.
Like other bad ball hitters, he can hit much better or much worse depending on the season. Pablo Sandoval hit .330 in 2009, .268 in 2010, .315 in 2011 and .283 in 2012. Like Perez, he is also about a .300 hitter overall.
His career Isolated Power of .150 is pretty good for a 23 year old and he has the potential for more. As soon as he develops some discipline against right-handed pitchers, he’ll get better pitches to drive. He only has a .402 SLG against righties, but a massive .586 SLG against lefties.
His home runs are often smoked line drives. A few times in 2013, he smashed a line drive off the wall that bounced back hard to the outfielder, limiting almost-home-runs to singles. With only five or six more feet of loft, he has a few more home runs and a lot of extra bases. If his liners find a gap, they travel deep enough that, even though Perez is slow, he turns a few doubles into triples.
He won a deserved Gold Glove in 2013. He’s among the best (if not the best) catchers at blocking pitches in the dirt. He got a workout this season with Ervin Santana’s slider, Luis Mendoza’s curve and Greg Holland’s splitter, which all have tendencies to bounce in front of the plate.
His 6’3, 245 lbs frame make it easier to block high bounces. His pitch framing is top notch and quick. He has good reaction time and often keeps runners where they are when blocking wild pitches.
His reaction time make his strong arm look even better. He’s quick on the release, with a 1.89 pop time, according to Joe Hamrahi from Baseball Prosectus in 2008. It doesn’t seem like he’s gotten any slower since then. He threw out 35% of base-stealers in 2013, placing him third among qualifiers and first among the five AL catchers with more than 1000 innings behind the plate.
Perez is pretty slow. He’s a smart baserunner and moves with purpose. He’s never been picked off and has only been thrown out on the basepaths seven times.
Overall, Perez is a stud among studs. He’s a team leader and every pitcher loves throwing to the guy. They trust him and trust his ability to call a game.
For the first time, he showed solid durability during the 2013 season. He started 132 games at catcher and served as a defensive replacement in four more. If he can keep this up for a few more years, he will probably be, hands down, the best overall catcher in the American League.