AL Central Rankings: Who has the top catcher in the division?

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1. Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)

Oct 24, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) bats against San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28, left) during the second inning in game three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A look at last season:

Salvador Perez saw a drop in production from his ’13 season to the ’14 season when the Royals ended up becoming the AL Champions.

During the ’14 season, Perez batted .260 with a .289 on-base percentage and .403 slugging percentage. As for the rest of his season, those averages helped the Royals catcher total the following numbers: 57 runs, 28 doubles, two triples and 17 home runs.

In his 606 plate appearances in ’14, Perez totaled 70 RBIs and walked just 22 times.

Perez, the AL Gold Glove winner, caught 146 games last season, committing nine errors in 1,118 chances (1,248.2 innings) for the Royals. His fielding percentage was .992, but the soon-to-be 25-year-old Perez has shown he is durable by catching 283 games the past two seasons.

Plus, the back-to-back All-Star had a WAR (wins above replacement) of 4.3 in ’13 and 3.3 last season.

Though Perez has caught the 280-plus games the past two seasons combined, reported how the Royals hope to cut that workload this season. In an Associated Press article it stated:

"“Perez wore down and faded offensively in the stretch. After hitting .283 with 11 home runs and a .437 slugging percentage before the All-Star game, he hit .236 with six homers and a .360 slugging percentage after it.”"

It will be worth watching out for if Perez and the Royals cut down on his workload this season and how that will affect the reigning AL champs in ’15.

2015 Baseball Prospectus Projections:

In ’15, Perez is being projected to increase his averages, jumping up to a .283 batting average with a .312 OBP and .421 SLG. The publication also projects Perez to have 13 home runs, 28 doubles and 65 RBIs, meaning it thinks he’ll drop in those numbers compared to his ’14 season.

One projection to keep an eye on are strikeouts for Perez, as BP is saying he’ll have 15 fewer, going from 85 to 70 this season.

They Said It:

In the aforementioned article on Perez, Royals manager Ned Yost said the following about the catcher earlier this month:

"”How do I resist the temptation to write Salvador’s name in the lineup 150 times? I don’t know yet. It is hard to take him out. It’s hard to do. We’ve got to find ways and I don’t know how we’re going to do it yet.”"