Carlos Perez, Catcher
HT : 6'0
WT : 210 lb.
DOB : October 27, 1990, Valencia, Carbobo, Venezuela
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : Traded from Houston Astros in exchange for Hank Conger in 2014
Stock : Neutral
The Angels added some much needed depth behind the plate this off-season, and it all began with attaining Carlos Perez. Perez may be one of the best defensive catchers in the minor leagues currently and that will be his honorary way into the Majors, but don't hold off on his bat just yet. He may surprise you.
Perez will always be known as a defensive catcher first. He's been given praise for every defensive tool a catcher can possess. If you start with his throwing abilities alone, you can see where the praise is coming from. He has a strong ability to get up from a crouch stance, quick glove-to-hand transfer, even quicker release, has good accuracy, and with his loaded arm strength, can really take away the running game.
Perez is known for his receiving skills above anything else. Coming from the school of framing, a.k.a., the Houston Astros farm system, he really works well with framing pitches and helping get that strike if need be. Despite his lack of athleticism, Perez moves well behind the plate. He has solid footwork and can get down quick to block pitches. When you take a look at Perez, there's just something special and fun to his defensive game, and it should carry him further than you'd expect.
Perez isn't that much of a threat at the plate, but he's nowhere near a liability or lost cause. He has a line-drive and level swing, which allows him to make adequate contact. He can drive the ball when needed, and is actually better at taking hacks on inside pitches. He can extend his hands and maintain his entire swing through the strike zone, but also, produce a high amount of ground balls. He has a little hitch in his swing, and on some occasions, this becomes a swing and miss problem for him.
Perez's power is on the lower scale side. He has a good frame, which is where most of his power comes from. However, he really just doesn't have the ability to put the ball over the fence. This comes from a contact first mindset, and he tends to hit the ball a little less than square and keep the ball low to the ground. You can expect 5-10 home runs in a full season from him, but hardly ever expect anything more than that.
Perez has good knowledge of who he is at the plate, which helps him become a threat. He's not going to tag you for the long ball, and won't really bash you with hundreds of singles. He uses his disciplined approach as his best weapon at the plate. He definitely has found a way to keep things simple, look for his pitch, and if he doesn't find it, look for the walk. This has helped him work counts in his favor, and find new ways to reach base.
Perez isn't much of a base stealer. Coaches have given him praise for smart base running, but he's just not all that fast. He's not slow, and can probably match up in a foot race against most large first basemen and catchers (C.J. Cron speed), but you shouldn't expect to see him in a steal scenario at any point. His triples rate suggest he has some extra gears while rounding the bases however.
In his first year of pro ball, Perez stayed consistent, and found himself in a good place in a pitcher friendly league. With the Dominican Blue Jays, Perez posted a slash of .306/.459/.378, and picked up hits in 43 of his 58 games, reaching base in 51. Perez had a 15-game on-base streak, where he reached base in 40 of 68 plate appearances (.588 OBP), drawing 20 walks over the span and scoring 12 runs. Perez really tagged left-handed pitchers in the Dominican, posting a .419/.587/.484 slash against them, walking 14 times in 45 plate appearances.
Perez kept up his justice once stateside, posting a .291/.364/.433 slash in the Gulf Coast League, with 11 doubles, three triples, one home run, 21 RBI and 17 runs scored in 43 games. Perez posted 10 multi-hit games, including three in a seven game stretch where he went a combined 11-for-30. Perez had most of his best games as a catcher, hitting .327/.398/.491 in 110 at bats as a catcher, instead of a designated hitter.
Perez took the leap to short-season A-ball, where he blasted a .298/.396/.438 slash with 11 doubles, eight triples, two home runs, 41 RBI and 44 runs scored in 66 games. Perez had 21 multi-hit games, including 10 in a 20 games stretch where he held a .346/.433/.500 slash. Where Perez really shined was with runners on, batting .333, with a .891 OPS in 129 at bats.
In Perez's first full season in Single-A, he was tested slightly, but didn't really fall off too far, with a .256/.320/.355 slash over 95 games. He found a nice stretch of time in July, where he hit .351/.424/.473 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, 12 RBI and 16 runs scored in 18 games. He also started the season hot, reaching in 22 of his first 26 games, and holding a .290 batting average and .748 OPS.
Perez's second trip to Low-A was a different story, as he posted a .275/.358/.447 slash, hitting in 53 of his 71 games, and reaching in all but five. Perez reached base in 29 of his final 30 games in Low-A, and held a .284/.395/.431 slash over the stretch. Perez got a callup to High-A, where he held his own, posting a .318/.368/.409 slash, and helped lead High-A Lancaster to a Cal League title.
Perez began 2013 with 16 quick games in Double-A, where he posted a .283/.356/.415 slash, going 15-for-53 with four doubles and four walks before taking the jump to Triple-A. Perez did what was expected of him in the highest minor league level, batting .269/.328/.345 with 14 doubles and 32 RBI in 75 games. Perez really lit up in his 15 games, batting .344 with an .811 OPS. In the seventh inning or later in games, Perez was absolutely clutch, with a .387/.430/.473 slash, with 14 RBI and 15 runs scored.
Perez struggled slightly in his second go around in Triple-A this past season, posting a .259/.323/.385 slash with 16 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 34 RBI and 33 runs scored in 88 games. Perez did manage a strong push at the end again though, as he slashed .297/.374/.413 with 19 runs scored and 17 RBI in his final 42 games, picking up hits in 28, and reaching base in 33.
The Angels have put themselves in a safe situation by adding Perez. He's currently listed third on the depth chart, behind Chris Iannetta and Drew Butera. With Jett Bandy in the lurks, it's hard to gage where Perez actually starts next season. He's the newest member to the organization without any Major League experience. This could mean that the Angels take Butera, who has experience in the bigs as their Opening Day backup, or Jett Bandy, who's familiar with the system already.
We believe Perez will start in Triple-A, as the starter, ahead of Jett Bandy. Like we said, tough the know where he's at in the Angels mindset. He should see Major League time in 2015, and possibly jump in as the full-time backup, and eventual starter in the future. He's going to be around, and is going to have to know his place in the system to gain that nice recognition from the big boys in the Front Office, and Mike Scioscia.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.