Michael Perez

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Michael Perez

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Michael Perez was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2011 season. He made slow progress through the organization, starting with two seasons in Rookie Ball in 2011 and 2012, then splitting 2013 between the South Bend Silver Hawks of the Midwest League and Visalia Oaks of the California League. He did well enough in South Bend, hitting .247 in 46 games, but he struggled to a .173 average in Visalia. He was back in South Bend in 2014 where he hit .238, but with 21 doubles and 9 homers, in 98 games. 2015 was back to splitting time between the Midwest League and California League, this time with a new D-Backs affiliate the Kane County Cougars and Visalia. He hit .224 in Kane County, but only .188 in 34 games in the California League.

Just like it looked he had stalled in Advanced A, he finally made it out of the level in 2016, when he hit .256 in 47 games in Visalia, and finished his season in the AA Southern League where he hit .205 in 39 games for the Mobile Bay Bears. In 2017, he had perhaps his best year to date with the bat, this time with the Jackson Generals of the Southern League: in 80 games, he hit .279/.365/.424, and went 4-for-9 with a homer in a brief promotion to the AAA Reno Aces. In 2018, he was hitting .284 in 58 games for Reno when on July 25th he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays along with P Brian Shaffer in return for P Matt Andriese. He was immediately called up to the majors and made his debut on July 26th when he went 1 for 2 with a double as the starting catcher against the Baltimore Orioles. He hit .284 in 24 games his first season, with 1 homer and 11 RBIs.

Having finally reached the majors, he settled into the role of back-up catcher, appearing in 22 games in 2019 and 38 in 2020, when the season was reduced to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mike Zunino getting the bulk of the work for the Rays. He hit .217 the first year and .167 the next, combining for 1 homer and 15 RBIs. He did not appear in the postseason in 2019, but in 2020 he played in three of the four series for the Rays, going 2 for 5 with a homer in their defeat of the New York Yankees in the Division Series and a combined 0 for 2 in the ALCS and World Series. He did not have a single plate appearance in three World Series games facing the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Immediately following the 2020 World Series, he was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates and in 2021 he had his busiest season to date, appearing in 70 games as the main back-up for Jacob Stallings. He batted .143 in 210 at-bats, with 7 homers and 21 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 38. It seemed that he must be have been playing there for his glove and not his bat, but his defensive numbers were not transcendent as well. He was back in a similar role in 2022, but was hitting a bit better. Still, it was a huge surprise when on June 30th, he had the first three-homer game of his career to lead the Bucs to an 8-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was in fact the first multi-homer game of his career and it allowed the Pirates to set a record as it was their third three-homer game in one month: rookie OF Jack Suwinski had accomplished the feat on June 19th, and Bryan Reynolds only the day before. In fact, the record for an entire season was only four such games.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Justice delos Santos: "1, 2, 3! Perez helps Bucs make HR history: Pittsburgh is 1st club to have 3 players log 3-homer games in a single month", mlb.com, July 1, 2022. [1]

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