Opening Day is just hours away and we have yet another injury. Catcher Sal Perez will be out 4-6 weeks with a torn MCL.
The Kansas City Royals may not have been contenders in the American League Central with a full lineup but things just got worse now. The news came out of Kansas City that catcher Sal Perez tore his MCL expected to miss four to six weeks, according to Rustin Dodd of The Athletic.
It was reported that he slipped carrying luggage on Tuesday. What’s with these baseball players getting hurt off the field? I kid but it is frustrating to all involved. The catcher pool is already shallow, losing a second-tier option like Perez doesn’t help.
Perez was being drafted as the fourth catcher in ESPN leagues with an ADP of 120.1 After the top three, there is a big drop-off in talent and ADP. While the Royals offense isn’t that great, they have enough pieces to score enough runs each game.
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He finished with a .268 average, a career-high 27 home runs, 80 RBI and 57 runs scored in 129 games. The downside to drafting him in that he doesn’t get on base. He walked just 17 times last season, down from 22 the year before. He posted a .297 on-base percentage.
The loss of Perez also hurts the value of Mike Moustakas and Whit Merrifield, the only other fantasy-relevant offensive players. Without his bat in the lineup, the Royals will be without a power bat in the middle of the lineup. Roster Resource lists DH Chelsor Cuthbert as their No. 5 hitter. That is a big drop off from Perez’s 20-plus home runs.
At this point, if you drafted Perez, you’re stuck with him. The highest-available catcher (under 30 percent owned) is Austin Barnes, who will be splitting time with Yasmani Grandal. Another name is Austin Hedges in San Diego. Jorge Alfaro in Philadelphia now has the job after the team released Cameron Rupp.
If you are in an AL-only league, Perez’s replacement Drew Butera is widely available. He’s owned in just 0.1 percent of ESPN leagues. He has a career .203/.258/.299 line with 16 home runs and 90 RBI over eight seasons. That doesn’t look good on paper but he’ll have consistent playing time for at least a month.
However used-car-salesman-like it may seem, if you have a second catcher, you may want to talk to the Perez owner in your league. I have a feeling he’d rather trade for a top-12 option instead of picking a part-time player up from the waiver wire.
Reports say that Perez will unlikely require surgery, making the six-week return date very possible. He is a must-stash on the DL until he returns, which will be around mid-May. This season is off to a rough start. Let’s hope the injuries stop here.