#38 Salvador Perez
Signed: Non-Drafted International Free Agent September 27, 2006
Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela
Perez is a part of an interesting group of young catchers that the Royals have in the lower levels of the system. When Dayton Moore became general manager of the Kansas City Royals he promised to increase spending on international free agents and he inherited a cupboard that was bare of catching. Perez represents an increased spending and dedication in both areas.
Coming into the season Perez was ranked the #19 Royals prospect by Baseball America and the top defensive catcher in the system with an above average arm and improving blocking abilities. But it was the bat he displayed in 2008 that made him really exciting given that typically the bat is the last thing to come for catching prospects. In 2008 he posted a slash line of .361/.409/.482 in 83 at bats between short season Burlington and rookie league Idaho Falls.
As a teenager Perez was given an opportunity to prove his skills in full season ball in low A Burlington, Iowa. However, Perez struggled mightily and was shut down for a period and then returned to Idaho Falls in an attempt to salvage the season for the hitter, he rebounded and put up solid numbers and should get another opportunity in 2010 to play full season ball. The issue though is that there is a potential log jam at the lower levels and playing time is going to be difficult to distribute. Perez should be in Burlington, but Jose Bonilla should probably return to Burlington as well after posting less than stellar numbers and the same could be said for Sean McCauley. Also, there is bonus baby Wil Myers, Benjamin Theriot, and Joey Lewis that are all ready for full season ball after posting strong numbers in Idaho Falls. Playing time will be an issue but hopefully the front office can come up with a plan and not hinder any of the aforementioned players development.