Roberto Perez continues to work in tandem with Yan Gomes as the Indians' preferred duo behind the plate, and things could remain that way for another year if the organization's desire to move Francisco Mejia away from the catcher spot continues to materialize. As part-time catchers go, Perez is slightly more interesting than some of the alternatives thanks to his ability to occasionally barrel up a pitch and drive a ball out of the park, but he's a career .216/.309/.362 hitter who seems unlikely to thrive if injuries created an opportunity for him to take on a larger role. That said, his defense is good enough that he could push for more playing time, particularly if Gomes continues to struggle at the plate. The quality of the lineup around him in Cleveland might be good enough to make him a passable second catcher for AL-only league players, but that's likely the extent of his value to fantasy players at the present time.
Perez is competing with Yan Gomes for the Indians' starting catching job, though manager Terry Francona noted both backstops are expected to play in 2018, Chris Assenheimer of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports. "(It's like) when we play Kansas City, (Salvador Perez) catches a lot, and then you see (Drew) Butera catch the odd game here or there," the manager said. "We're never going to be like that. Our guys are too close together where we need them to play more than that, so they will." Francona noted that even though both catchers will see their fair share of playing time, the shakeout won't necessarily be an even split. That said, playing time could prove similar to last year, when the starter appeared in around 100 games while the backup saw action in around 70. Perez, who opened the 2017 season as the Indians' backup, hit .207/.291/.373 with eight homers in 248 plate appearances, while Gomes posted a .232/.309/.399 line with 14 homers in 383 plate appearances. Both graded out similarly on the defensive end, so whoever performs better throughout spring will likely enter the season as the team's starter. Even in a slightly larger role, however, Perez wouldn't be more than a second catcher in deeper or AL-only formats given he's a career .216/.309/.362 hitter.
Perez is not in the lineup against the Yankees on Friday. Perez will head to the bench for Game 2 of the ALDS after working behind the plate during Thursday's victory. In his place, Yan Gomes will handle the catching duties and bat eighth in the order.
Perez went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in Wednesday's win over the Tigers. Although officially listed as No. 2 on the depth chart, Perez continues to play his way into the lineup on a routine basis. In seven starts this month, the catcher is 8-for-26 (.308) with three home runs and nine RBI. Perez is a solid play in daily formats on days when he's in the lineup.
Perez went 1-for-2 with a walk and a solo homer in Sunday's win over the Orioles. He went back-to-back with Francisco Lindor in the sixth inning and has now homered twice already in September after hitting just three over the first five months of the campaign. Perez and Yan Gomes have been basically alternating starts over the past couple weeks.
Perez is in the starting lineup Monday against Detroit. Perez will shoulder the catching duties for a second straight day, proving his hot bat is being noticed by manager Terry Francona. The 28-year-old is more than capable of holding his own defensively, so contributing offensively like he has lately should allow Perez to see more playing time down the stretch.