TCN 2013 Cardinals Prospect #38: Audry Perez

The Double-A catcher makes his Top 40 debut after his fifth year in the system, fourth in the USA.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR C 12/23/1988 5-9 180 R R 2008 FA

Selected 2012 stats

SPR 0.263 0.308 312 28 82 12 4 42 6 58 0 0.282 0.281 0.346 0.627

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (NR): Perez did not make my personal top 50. His OPS has declined four straight years in the minors. He appears solid with the glove but not strong enough defensively to wow people or stick as a backup major league catcher based on his defense. I will not be surprised if he someday makes a major league appearance but I will be surprised if ever makes any real impact.

Expect to see Perez as the Triple-A starting catcher in 2013 but if he does not pick up his offense, I do not expect him to finish the year that way.

Message board community (36): In retrospect, it is hard to guess how Perez received Texas League mid-season all-star honors, with a full-season slash line of .263/.281/.346, and just six walks against nearly 60 strikeouts.

But let's not overly dwell on the negatives. The 23-year-old tied his career high by taking the field 81 times this year - all of them behind the plate. While back there, Perez committed just five errors, and gunned down an excellent 42% of base thieves. So, as a catch-and-throw guy, he may have MLB backup in his future.

Once lauded by no less than Keith Law for his power potential, Audry has seen his star dim considerably over the past few years... but catchers are notorious for their inconsistent bats. If Perez can reclaim a chunk of his previous patience/pop, it is not out of the question that he could assume Tony Cruz' bench role when the latter reaches his pricier arbitration years. - BobReed

Brian Walton (32): I generally do not think about positional rankings within my personal top 40, but in the case of catchers for 2013, I spent a fair amount of time here.

Last year, three catchers placed in our top 26. Two of them are gone with one having endured a rough season. Tony Cruz graduated, Bryan Anderson declared free agency before signing with the White Sox for 2013 and Cody Stanley dealt with suspension and injury.

Without giving much away, each of our three voters ranked the 2013 top 40 catching contenders in a different order. As the numbers above indicate, I am the most aggressive of us on Perez. Still, not one catcher will finish in this year's consolidated top 26, signaling considerable system-wide uncertainty at the position.

Perez seems like he has been around forever, and has been a professional for five years. Yet he is just 23, and was named an all-star in three of his five seasons, including 2012 in the Texas League. Perez' biggest offensive shortcoming is a resistance to taking the walk, with his work behind the plate solid. In fact, his caught-stealing rate was the highest in the Texas League in 2012.

There is still time for Perez to take his game to the proverbial next level and I see his current chances being as good or better than any other backstop in the system. While Perez is currently Rule 5-eligible, the organization apparently felt comfortable that he is far enough away from the majors to not be selected.

Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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