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Examining Michael Perez

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MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates made some moves yesterday including the claiming of 28-year-old catcher Michael Perez.

Perez spent the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 228 career plate appearances, he has hit .221/.286/.314 with two home runs and 13 doubles. Perez doesn’t walk much (career 7.9 percent) and he strikes out often (career 28.5 percent). In 2020 specifically, Perez struggled at the plate hitting .167/.237/.238 over 93 plate appearances. His fWAR was -0.5.

In 2019, Perez was slightly better as a hitter as he slashed .217/.345/.326 in 55 plate appearances. Although that line does not look remotely good, Perez showed glimpses of potential as his hard-hit rate was 48.1. He also had an average exit velocity of 92.5 mph. Overall in his career, his hard-hit rate is 39.2 percent. Yes, the two career home runs are a minuscule total. That said, there might be a little bit of pop in that bat that can be harnessed.

Defensively speaking, Perez was in the 26th percentile in terms of framing in 2020. When it comes to blocking, he is above average. His 0.001 errant pitches above average, which judges the catcher’s ability to block potential wild pitches, was near the top of the league this past year. In all, he’s probably an average fielding catcher.

As of right now, the Pirates have two catchers on their 40-Man roster. That will not be the case once Spring Training starts. Once more catching depth is added, I imagine that Perez will have the opportunity to compete for the backup catcher spot in Spring Training.