Rays 2020 Player Profile: Michael Perez
By Seth Carter
Michael Perez profiles as a defensive and offensive force behind the plate. He resumes his role as one half of a powerful catching tandem for the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays.
Birthplace: Catano, Puerto Rico
Acquired via trade 07/25/2018 (Rays traded Matt Andriese for Michael Perez and Brian Shaffer)
2019 Salary: $556,700
Free Agent: 2025
2019 AAA-Durham Stats
VS LHP: .186/.231/.322
VS RHP .272/.381/.511
- Perez hit 11 of his 13 home runs (minors) off right-handed pitching last season.
- Perez has been catching since he was nine years old. He grew up in Bayamon, Puerto Rico where he played on a neighborhood team with Cubs’ superstar, Javier Baez.
- Rays’ Minor League pitcher Anthony Banda said he used to beg the managers for Perez to catch him.
- Across nine minor league seasons, Perez has thrown out 37% of would-be base stealers.
2020 Steamer Projections
Perez was slated to begin the 2019 season as one of two men to hold down the fort behind home plate. Mike Zunino was to make up the other half of the platoon. Zunino went down with a quad and in early May, Perez suffered an oblique strain. The Rays were forced to pay the Dodgers $100k for castoff catcher, Travis d’Arnaud. He would become a middle of the order bat and important piece in the Rays 96-win season.
Travis d’Arnaud entered free agency and quickly signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. The Rays responded by avoiding arbitration with Mike Zunino and signing him to a one-year deal with a team option for 2021. The Rays now find themselves in the same spot they were prior to last season. 2020 will be the Zunino/Perez show.
Perez has shown serious power from the left side in the minors. Last season in AAA-Durham he hit a homer every 15.33 Abs. If you multiply that out over 350 Abs, that’s 22 homers from one half of your catching tandem. Additionally, Perez provides the left-handed option in the lineup and he ate right-handed pitching for breakfast last season with a batting line of .272/.381/.511.
Kevin Cash on his 5’10” catcher:
"“He’s not the biggest guy, but his athleticism really stands out. You watch his actions behind the plate as a catcher — blocking the ball and throwing — he’s got quick feet, he’s got a cannon for an arm and how quickly he can react to balls in the dirt."
While d’Arnaud was a nice addition last season, the Rays believe they can continue to get better with Zunino and Perez behind the plate in 2020.
*Stats for this profile were harvested from ESPN, Steamer, Baseball-reference, and Fangraphs.
What are you looking forward to from Michael Perez in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!