After playing Saturday’s game with one healthy catcher, the Atlanta Braves acquired Carlos Perez from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Ryan Schimpf. Thus ends the eventful reign of Schimpf with the Braves. He had power. He didn’t have the ability to connect the bat to the ball.
There were more than a few moves over the last couple of days that had Braves fans scratching their heads. I’ll go over them more in this week’s Transaction Tuesday. However, because this is a trade, I believe it deserves a bit more discussion. On opening night, the Braves lost Tyler Flowers to an oblique issue. On Friday, the Braves lost Kurt Suzuki after being hit by a pitch. Early reports suggest that Suzuki won’t miss much time – perhaps he’ll be ready for Monday’s game against the Nationals. However, Atlanta needed a catcher now and lands Perez.
Perez is a 27-year-old backstop who Alex Anthopoulos is familiar with. When Anthopoulos was the Toronto Blue Jays Assistant General Manager, they signed Perez as an international prospect from Venezuela. He was traded by Anthopoulos to the Astros at the trading deadline in 2012 in a deal that sent future Brave David Carpenter to Toronto. After the 2014 season, Perez would again be traded – this time for Hank Conger.
So, that’s how Perez became an Angel. Throughout his minor league career, he’s been a pretty forgetful hitter. Everything was just kind of decent about his offensive production. He wasn’t awful, but his numbers didn’t jump off the page at you when you consider park and league factors.
In 2015, Perez appeared in 86 games with the Angels, maintaining a .284 wOBA as his BABIP sunk under .300. That’s something a hitter that depends on contact getting him on base can’t deal with. He again appeared in a bunch of games in the majors in 2016 – 87 to be exact. He had rotten luck with a .236 BABIP. His first two seasons in the majors did include some good defense, which gave him a 1-win total over 574 PA. Not bad when your wOBA is in the .260-range.
Last season was spent mostly in the minors. The numbers were very solid, but it is the Pacific Coast League. He did play eleven games in the majors, going 2-for-20 with a homer.
Short of a BABIP-infused run, Perez is not going to provide you much offense. If he did, he wouldn’t have been designated for assignment at the end of camp by the Angels. He doesn’t make enough contact and what contact he does make is not hit nearly well enough. He has upped his flyball rate over the last two years, which could be by design. He’s also shown some fairly significant pull rates.
But his value comes as a catcher. The metrics generally like him with a +8 DRS over nearly 1400 innings in the majors, including a +5 rSB and a +2 rGFP. The first number deals with stolen base prevention while the latter is an acronym for the self-explanatory metric “Good Fielding Plays Runs Saved above average.” He’s generally rated slightly below-average in framing according to Statcorner, but Baseball Prospectus gives him a positive score. Take from that what you will, but the general scouting report is true to form – Perez is a good defensive catcher and not much else.
And that’s ultimately what this deal is. The Braves wanted a catcher with experience and they got one. He’s out of options and would have to go through waivers to be sent down, but the Braves probably felt they had seen enough of Schimpf anyway. And that’s the story with this deal.
Interestingly enough – just to pad the word count – this is the second Carlos Perez to play for the Braves in recent years. Those who follow the prospect ranks may remember a left-handed Carlos Perez, who pitched in the Braves system from 2009 until 2014. He was briefly a niche prospect after a nice summer in 2010. That led to hope for the then-18-year-old. He quickly flamed out due to control issues. Last summer, he resurfaced for a team of Dominicans that played 17 games in the independent Can-Am League. The team was horrendous – full of mostly minor league busts. They finished 2-15 and were outscored 150-70.
Perez was one of the arms for that team, along with a pair of former Braves’ pitchers in Robinson Lopez and Lay Batista. Perez gave up 13 runs in 4.1 innings on the heels of 17 – SEVENTEEN – walks! Yikes. That’s a 35.3 BB/9.
Anywho, that was something you didn’t know. It’s about as interesting as talking about Carlos Perez, the catcher.