The Baseball Hipsters' War Against Salvador Perez: Episode III

It's time for the finale of this trilogy, and it can only end in one way.
Author:
Publish date:

The final installment of the series is finally here. Let's set the record straight in regards to the baseball hipsters' war against Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, once and for all. 

Episode three of this series will include offensive numbers in an effort to compare the top-performing catchers in baseball. Six statistics will be listed, and we will form our final conclusion at the end to see who is on the right side of the fence in this battle to prove or debunk common narratives about Perez.

Everyone grab your big stone club and put on a sarong and or toga, because it’s time to go over “primitive” statistics like batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, on-base + slugging, home runs and runs batted in. Also, with this being the lightning round, everyone will be listed the first time around and we’ll score their ranking for all six statistics to determine who is the best offensive catcher in the game.

Batting Average (.AVG)

(1) Buster Posey — .298 (14 points)

(2) Omar Narvaez — .286 (13 points)

(3) Salvador Perez — .275 (12 points)

(4) Tucker Barnhart — .266 (11 points)

(5) Will Smith — .263 (10 Points)

(6) J.T Realmuto — .261 (9 points)

(7) Christian Vazquez — .256 (8 points)

(8) Yadier Molina — .251 (7 points)

(9) Jacob Stallings — .235 (6 points)

(10) Willson Contreras — .226 (5 points)

(11) Sean Murphy — .216 (4 points)

(12) Yasmani Grandal — .215 (3 points)

(13) Gary Sanchez — .214 (2 points)

(14) Mike Zunino — .207 (1 point)

On-Base Percentage (.OBP)

(1) Yasmani Grandal — .407 (13 points)

(2) Buster Posey — .391 (12 points)

(3) Will Smith — .370, Omar Narvaez .370 (11 points)

(4) J.T Realmuto — .350 (10 points)

(5) Tucker Barnhart — .337 (9 points)

(6) Willson Contreras — .333 (8 points)

(7) Jacob Stallings — .325 (7 points)

(8) Gary Sanchez — .319 (6 points)

(9) Salvador Perez — .315 (5 points)

(10) Sean Murphy — .310 (4 points)

(11) Christian Vazquez — .309 (3 points)

(12) Mike Zunino — .303 (2 points)

(13) Yadier Molina — .295 (1 point)

Slugging Percentage (SLG)

(1) Mike Zunino — .546 (14 points)

(2) Salvador Perez — .534 (13 points)

(3) Yasmani Grandal — .510 (12 points)

(4) Will Smith — .506 (11 points)

(5) Buster Posey — .495 (10 points)

(6) J.T Realmuto — .443 (9 points)

(7) Omar Narvaez — .440 (8 points)

(8) Gary Sanchez — .431 (7 points)

(9) Willson Contreras — .417 (6 points)

(10) Tucker Barnhart — .413 (5 points)

(11) Sean Murphy — .411 (4 points)

(12) Yadier Molina — .368 (3 points)

(13) Jacob Stallings — .367 (2 points)

(14) Christian Vazquez — .347 (1 point)

On-Base + Slugging (OPS)

(1) Yasmani Grandal — .917 (11 points)

(2) Buster Posey — .886 (10 points)

(3) Will Smith — .876 (9 points)

(4) Salvador Perez, Mike Zunino — .849 (8 points)

(5) Omar Narvaez — .810 (7 points)

(6) J.T. Realmuto — .794 (6 points)

(7) Willson Contreras, Gary Sanchez, Tucker Barnhart — .750 (5 points)

(8) Sean Murphy — .721 (4 points)

(9) Jacob Stallings — .692 (3 points)

(10) Yadier Molina — .663 (2 points)

(11) Christian Vazquez — .656 (1 point)

Home Runs (HR)

(1) Salvador Perez — 38 (13 points)

(2) Mike Zunino — 27 (12 points)

(3) Will Smith — 22 (11 points)

(4) Yasmani Grandal, Gary Sanchez — 18 (10 points)

(5) Willson Contreras — 17 (9 points)

(6) Buster Posey — 16 (8 points)

(7) Sean Murphy — 15 (7 points)

(8) J.T. Realmuto — 14 (6 points)

(9) Omar Narvaez — 11 (5 points)

(10) Yadier Molina — 9 (4 points)

(11) Jacob Stallings — 8 (3 points)

(12) Tucker Barnhart — 7 (2 points)

(13) Christian Vazquez — 6 (1 point)

Runs Batted In (RBI)

(1) Salvador Perez — 94 (12 points)

(2) Will Smith — 65 (11 points)

(3) J.T Realmuto — 58 (10 points)

(4) Sean Murphy, Yadier Molina — 55 (9 points)

(5) Mike Zunino — 51 (8 points)

(6) Yasmani Grandal — 49 (7 points)

(7) Jacob Stallings — 48 (6 points)

(8) Omar Narvaez — 45 (5 points)

(9) Gary Sanchez, Tucker Barnhart — 43 (4 points)

(10) Buster Posey — 42 (3 points)

(11) Christian Vazquez — 41 (2 points)

(12) Willson Contreras — 40 (1 points)

Whew, now that was exhausting. Before we get to the final results, let me explain the reasoning for this scoring system. I scored these results like this to be as unbiased as possible because it is easy to look at 38 HR’s and 94 RBI’s and compare them to everyone else’s rather minuscule totals and draw a conclusion from that. 

However, I didn’t think it was fair to overvalue the outliers from the pack because after all, we're only comparing these catchers against other catchers so how they perform in relation to one another should hold the most weight.

With that being said, here are the final offensive rankings for these catchers.

(1) Will Smith, Salvador Perez (63 points)

(2) Buster Posey (57 points)

(3) Yasmani Grandal (56 points)

(4) J.T. Realmuto (50 points)

(5) Omar Narvaez (49 points)

(6) Mike Zunino (45 points)

(7) Tucker Barnhart (36 points)

(8) Willson Contreras, Gary Sanchez (34 points)

(9) Sean Murphy (32 points)

(10) Jacob Stallings (27 points)

(12) Yadier Molina (26 points)

(13) Christian Vazquez (16 points)

In a test that values all major hitting statistics equally, Perez comes out on top in a tie with Will Smith for best offensive catcher in the league. Perez's on-base percentage is what cost him the outright top spot, as he finished fifth from the bottom. However, that was the only category where he wasn’t ranked inside the top four.

So, the question comes down to what you value more personally: walks or RBIs? Perez obviously values his ability to drive in runs off borderline pitches more than his desire to grind out a walk. While walks are nice, you pay your middle-of-the-order hitters to drive in runs — not to pass the buck onto those behind them.

Say what you want to about Perez’s methods for generating offense, but his way of hitting is still generating the best overall results this year when it comes to catchers. 

Conclusion

Perez, right now, is the best catcher in baseball. His only real competition is Smith. If we want to be diplomatic, they can be 1A and 1B.

It all comes down to what type of playstyle you prefer. On one hand, you have Perez who is better at Smith when it comes to throwing runners out and keeping the ball in front of him and has the most HRs and RBIs of any catcher this year by a wide margin. On the other hand, you have Smith who is a much better framer of the ball and has a big edge over Perez when it comes to getting on-base, which leads to a higher OPS.

I do believe the edge has to go to Perez who, as I said before, may be more inclined to walk if he had more legitimate threats behind him in the batting order. A few games ago, Smith had both Chris Taylor and AJ Pollock bat behind him in the order. Stuff like that matters.

Smith will be the premier catcher in this league going forward if he can stay healthy. If he can match or exceed Perez’s production after ten years behind the plate, then he will possibly be on a Hall of Fame trajectory. But as of right now, the crown rests heavily on the head of Perez. Despite all of the unreasonable hate, he's having a breakout year in his tenth season.

Eventually, when Perez has to hang up the catching gear for good to make way for someone else, his legacy will long outlive almost everyone else on this list. Perez is loved by virtually everyone in Kansas City, and the goal of this series was to educate those who hate on him from the outside. Hopefully, that goal was accomplished.

Read More: The Baseball Hipsters' War Against Salvador Perez: Episode II