Cleveland Indians: Roberto Perez played well in limited action in 2017

Cleveland Indians fans didn’t see a lot of Roberto Perez in 2017, but he managed to put up some new personal bests during the season.

We discussed Roberto Perez‘s future with the Cleveland Indians in a separate post, but now it’s time to reflect on his 2017 season.

Perez put up some new personal bests, although we aren’t talking about legendary numbers here. He had news highs in games played (73), at-bats (217), hits (45), doubles (12), home runs (8), and RBI (38). The problem is that his slash line of .207/.291/.373 didn’t help him get more starts over Yan Gomes.

A small goal for Perez in 2018 should be to raise that on-base percentage at least up over the .300 mark. For someone with a career .216 batting average, drawing walks and reaching base is a great quality to have. It also leads to more playing time. He does hold a career .309 on-base percentage, so let’s hope he plays at that average in 2018.

Perez is mostly known for his defense, making him more valuable than so many other backup catchers in the league. Terry Francona can give Gomes one or several days off every week, and put in a catcher who is just as good or even better on defense. And with both players have lackluster seasons on offense in 2017, swapping in Perez for Gomes didn’t result in too much of a decline in the lineup.

Having Perez on a team-friendly deal for several years could mean teams may pursue him in trades, but it also gives the Indians a talented catcher on the roster to play behind Francisco Mejia, if the young prospect becomes too good to keep in the minors.

I don’t see that happening in 2018, but it could happen in 2019 if the Indians want to move on from Gomes via a trade.

Perez did hit a home run in Game 4 of the ALDS, but it didn’t compare to the magic he brought to the 2016 postseason.

To be fair, he still played well and was not one of the players who completely bottomed out this past October.

Perez should serve a similar role in 2018 as he did a season ago, but expecting his offensive numbers to drastically improve may be wasted energy. With his limited time on the field, it has to be hard to build any rhythm at the plate.

The front office has decided to keep things simple this offseason, placing faith in those already on the team. Roberto Perez is not a player fans are relying upon to have a breakout year in 2018, but his gradual improvement in certain offensive categories a season ago will hopefully be a continuing trend.

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