In surprisingly sneaky fashion, catching prospect Salvador Perez was promoted to Kansas City yesterday evening. The spot was opened up when Brayan Pena left the team to join his wife, who was delivering a child.
The interesting part of all of this is the timing of the move. I am sure the Royals imagined that whenever Pena would leave the team to join his wife they would be promoting Manny Pina, thus allowing Salvador Perez a couple more weeks in Omaha. However, what they didn't foresee was Matt Treanor hitting the 7 day disabled list due to a concussion. When this happened the Royals were forced to promote Manny Pina sooner rather than later.
When Treanor wasn't healthy enough to return in time for Pena's paternal leave the Royals had to make a decision. They could either give a guy like Cody Clark a few days in the Majors or they could push Salvador Perez right on through to the Majors even though he had only played 12 games in Omaha. I don't believe the Royals ever really considered the first of these options.
So here we are, Salvador Perez is getting the call to the Majors and will be the everyday guy until another roster move comes. Perez was hitting .290/.331/.437 for the season between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha. He is considered a top notch defensive catcher praised for his 1.8 second pop times.
John Wathan even called Perez the top prospect in the system. Royals Scout legend Art Stewart even said "if he doesn't go to the Hall of Fame, I'll go into the furniture business." Clearly this is a guy that the Royals brass love.
So far this season the Royals haven't appeared to have rushed a prospect to the Majors. Every guy to get the call has proven himself in the Minors. (Except for Aaron Crow, but he was moved to the pen and was lights out last Spring.) I do not believe that Salvador Perez is ready with the bat. But I do believe that the Royals feel he is Major League ready.
In fact last Spring Ned Yost said himself that he thought Perez was a Major League ready catcher. Quite frankly the Royals value defense at catcher more than they probably value defense at any other position. For this reason Brayan Pena has never been given an everyday shot at being the guy.
The Royals now have two defensive first catchers on the Major League roster that are under control for at least six seasons a piece. But common sense would indicate that the Royals would not feel comfortable entering next season without a veteran backstop in the picture.
I wouldn't bet against the Royals bringing in a veteran, but I am not so sure that it is a given either. Ned Yost seems to already be in love with Salvador Perez and we have also heard that he is a big fan of Manny Pina. I could see a scenario in which he decides to embrace his young defensive tandem and goes into next season with just the two of them.
Brayan Pena should only be gone for a few days, and Matt Treanor could return at anytime. Whenever either of these thigns happen, I expect Manny Pina to go down to Omaha. But when September rolls around I wouldn't be shocked if the Royals carried four catchers on the roster.
I'm absolutely pumped to watch this team tonight. The lineup we see tonight very likely will be the lineup we see on Opening Day of 2012, barring a few minor adjustments. Six of the nine players are homegrown and seven of the nine are under team control for at least two more seasons. Not to mention that Alcides Escobar just became the oldest player in the infield at 24.
The lineup is in place and the clock is ticking for the Royals to make their move in the AL Central. The Process is now pouring into the Major League team and while these players will need time to develop at the Major League level, the expectations for this group of players are already present.
It isn't fair to expect these prospects to perform immediately, but just watching them grow together on the grandest stage should be entertaining enough for the next month and a half. Go Royals!