With Roberto Perez hitting the injured list for an extended period of time, one catcher will have the opportunity at a bounce-back season.
In the midst of Saturday’s doubleheader in Cincinnati, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected the contract of Michael Perez and had him take an Uber to Great American Ballpark to make it in time for game two of the twinbill, however, he did not play in the game.
The 29-year-old backstop did play in Sunday’s series finale and made a great impression in his first game back, going 1-for-2 with a two-run home run and a walk. Then, on Monday, Perez replicated that performance and hit another home run against Los Angeles Dodgers star Julio Urias.
To put it in perspective, Perez needed almost two months to garner two home runs in 2021. In addition, he only nabbed two total home runs between 2018 and 2020.
His power surge isn’t the only impressive factor for Perez so far, as he’s only struck out once compared to three times in his first two games last year.
Michael Perez has 0.3 fWar in 7 PAs. War in SSS is really silly sometimes pic.twitter.com/mbKyussVLU— Yark (@eYARKulation) May 10, 2022
So what’s the secret to his success?
After failing to hit over .200 over the course of last season and Spring Training this year, the Pirates passed on promoting Perez to the MLB and, instead, optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis in favor of Andrew Knapp, whom the Pirates signed to a Major League contract at the beginning of the season.
With the Indians, Perez hit .294 with a .909 OPS in 58 innings. Factoring that in with an injury to Jamie Ritchie, Perez was the logical choice for the Pirates when Roberto got hurt.
Could it be that he improved under the direction of Eric Munson, the Indians’ new hitting coach that was brought in during the offseason? Or should his hot streak be credited to a chip on his shoulder after being passed up at the start of the season? Tell us in the comments your thoughts on Perez’s good play.
No matter what it is, he is hungry to show that he is the dominant Perez in Pittsburgh.