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Carlos Beltrán, Aníbal Sánchez, Clay Buchholz, Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke, Jed Lowrie, Eric Hosmer, Mike Sweeney. All above-average players. Most of them All-Stars. All have one thing in common: At some point in their careers, they were among the more than 100 major leaguers to have played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Class A Kansas City Royals affiliate in Delaware’s largest city.

Is it something in the water? Is it the same power that controls the mind-bending hair of Delawarean and Vice President Joe Biden? Could it have something to do with the fact that a vegetable named Mr. Celery comes out and dances whenever the home team scores a run? Whatever it is, that same force also helped along Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who hit .290 for the Rocks in 2010 and later had his own bobblehead handed out as a promotion (I think it was the day before Cowboy Monkey Rodeo Night, but I’m not sure).

Anyway, why should we even be looking at Sal as a bounce back candidate? I mean damn, last year he hit .292 with 13 dongs and 79 RBI. He also lined 25 doubles and stretched out three triples. Not too shabby for a catcher! What the hell else do you want, you ingrate?! Why am I yelling at myself again? Well, Perez is a bounce back candidate because I expect more. I’ve expected more since he became the apple of my waiver-wire-trolling eye after he was first called up to the bigs in 2011. I knew nothing about him at the time, except that I loved his big frame and long arms a little more than I should have. And I expect more because the scouts did when Perez was with the Blue Rocks. The knock on Sal in the bigs, if there is one, is that he’s been more of a gap hitter than a power hitter. So why not reach for the top-shelf option for a catcher of his ilk – Yadier Molina – instead of settling for Sal and his lack of RBI opportunities on the Royals?

Because in 2011, the scouts were saying that while the then-20-year-old Perez was more of a gap hitter, his power would increase over time as he matured and got stronger. I think that time is now. In my various fantasy drafts, Perez has been my second target at catcher after Carlos Santana, and that’s only because Carlos has 1B eligibility and maybe even 3B eligibility if the Indians follow through on playing him at the hot corner. Somehow I don’t get close to landing Brian McCann, who is another solid bounce back guy for 2014. I want nothing to do with drafting Buster Posey too early, I’m not sold on Joe Mauer, and Molina bores the hell out of me. Seriously, I would rather watch an entire season of “True Blood” with a college Goth club than have Molina as my backstop.

Sal and McCann are the best catcher values out there. Draft one of those guys, and if they suck or get hurt, pick up another dude and hope for the best. Punting on catcher is fun!

I think Perez tops 20 bombs this season and gets somewhere in the neighborhood of .290/25/90 with 30-plus doubles.

  1. Principal Blackman says:
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    I used to work for a band who played at Frawley Stadium (home of the Blue Rocks) once, and Mr. Celery came out on stage before their set and shot t-shirts into the crowd. It was kinda awesome, and it (the mascot) was way cooler than the mascots for the Brooklyn Cyclones, Lowell Spinners, and Southbend Silverhawks, all of whom did the same thing on this particular tour.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Principal Blackman: Was the band Wilco? Regardless, yeah cool stadium and cool team. Should also mention that one-time All-Star Jon Lieber was also a Blue Rock.

      • Principal Blackman says:
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        @Pete Nice: Yes, it was.

      • Principal Blackman says:
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        @Pete Nice: I think the Lowell Spinners mascot was on stage longer than the band that day. As I recall, there was quite a storm that night.

  2. Joe G says:
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    Pete what aré your thoughts of Wilson Ramos and Jason Castro this season……good seasons for both?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Joe G: Yeah, I’d say good not great. Interesting that Ramos had similar stats in about half the games because of injury. I think Ramos is more of a gamble because of that, but if he’s healthy he’ll have a big year for a catcher. Castro is the steadier option.

  3. nick the dick says:
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    I would’ve liked to nab him in one of my leagues. I agree he will have a very solid year especially compared to where he can be drafted. But I have santana in one league and mccann in the other with a twist of gattis on the bench and got all of them later than usual so who am I to complain?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @nick the dick: You’re good to go. I think Gattis is being underestimated. And Santana getting 3B eligibility is TIGHT.

      • nick the dick says:
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        @Pete Nice: yeah if gattis can mess around and hit 30 homers as my backup C/UTIL what more could I ask for? I was already a smitten kitten with his outfield eligibility and now santana with first and third?! That’s my god damn jam!

  4. Principal Blackman says:
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    All mascots aside, I was all over Sal Perez in all of my leagues last year, and I got mildly burned by him. For some reason I was willing to come back for more, but so far I have yet to land him on a single team due to my unwillingness to pay more than $5 for a Catcher. So far all of my teams have either Ramos or Wieters on them, which neither thrills nor upsets me.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Principal Blackman: I used to be big on Wieters but only have him on one team this year and that was more out of desperation. Then again, I’ve seen people predicting a bounce back year from him, so who knows…

  5. Cram It says:
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    As a manager that has punted catcher until the final rounds his entire fantasy baseball career, I own Sal Perez on all of my teams. Full blown stamp of approval for a huge return on his middle round/$5 investment on draft day.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Cram It: Exactly. It’s more like a fake punt where you might actually get a first down or score a TD.

    • Steve Stevenson says:
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      @Cram It: I always punt too, but I couldn’t resist McCann in the 14th last night in a power-heavy league. Crossing my fingers. Good news is, it’s not like I lost out on any other targets the next few rounds.

      • Pete Nice

        Pete Nice says:
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        @Steve Stevenson: I woulda rolled the dice on McCann if I had the chance. I have the feeling this is a true boom-or-bust bet – he’s either going to jack a ton of bombs or really flop.

      • Cram It says:
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        @Steve Stevenson: I hear ya. Got Perez in round 13, one round after McCann in my snake and cheaper than him in all my auctions. And I prefer Perez in a vacuum.

  6. Chicken Dinner says:
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    Please rank: Yan, Ramos, D’arnaud

    H2H Points league

    Thanks.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Chicken Dinner: Ramos, Yan, D’Arnaud

  7. bossmanjunior says:
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    Still can’t believe he was available in the last round of my 10 team league. I was fully expecting to draft either Ramos or Castro, but somehow the likes of Montero and Gattis were drafted ahead of all three catchers. It was the cherry on top of an otherwise successful draft.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @bossmanjunior: I guess the lack of dongs last year has people scared off. But even if you got the same numbers from 2013 you’d be happy with that from a late round catcher.

  8. wiudavis says:
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    You had me at Bouncing Back: Salvador Perez. I signed him for 3 years after the 2012 season only to wait for him to break loose in 2013. I hope you are correct my friend!!!!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @wiudavis: Were you happy with his 2013? I’m assuming you just left him alone and he didn’t kill you. I think he will reward you handsomely in 2014 for your faith in him two years ago!

      • wiudavis says:
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        @Pete Nice: I kept the faith…thinking that he would eventually bounce back. He was okay in 2013, but I was expecting more. Cheers to 2014!!!!!

  9. Lville Jim says:
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    I also have been all over Sal, in a nonsexual way since he first appeared on the waiver wire in my dynasty league. He has afforded me the luxury of moving Mauer for Arrenado a few weeks ago.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Lville Jim: Why nonsexual?

  10. 2 Cups 1 Braun says:
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    10 TEAM league with OBP….would you lose Wiling Rosario for a Sal Perez?

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @2 Cups 1 Braun: Eh I don’t think so. I mean if you could deal Rosario and pick up Perez that might not be bad. But their OBP are nearly identical, and Rosario has the Coors advantage. I’d hold steady.

      • 2 Cups 1 Braun says:
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        @Pete Nice: What about Wilson Ramos for Sal in another league that I have?

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @2 Cups 1 Braun: I think at this point there’s no real reason to ditch one for the other. If I had Ramos right now I couldn’t really see a reason to switch to Sal, other than maybe the injury concern, but that could happen to anyone.

  11. Water boy says:
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    Hey there could you rate my team at each position/ what moves would you try to make?

    Starting lineup

    Catcher- Carlos Santana

    1b- goldschmidnt

    2b- pedroia

    3b- David wright

    Ss- Alexi Ramirez

    Infield- Eric hosmer

    OF- Bryce Harper

    OF- Matt Holliday

    OF- hunter pence

    OF- Shane victorino

    Utility- Martin prado

    DH- Adam Dunn

    Bench: Salvador Perez, Christian yelich, andrelton Simmons

    Starting pitcher- Strasberg

    Starting pitcher- bumgarner

    Starting pitcher- tanaka

    Relief pitcher- papelbon

    Relief pitcher- slot open / going to stream right here

    Bench: Zach wheeler, gerritt cole

    It’s H2H scoring format with espn.

    Single: 1 point

    Double: 2 pt

    Triple: 3 pts

    Home run: 4 points

    Stolen bases: 1 point

    Runs batted in: 1 point

    Runs scored: 1 point

    Total bases: 1 point

    Hit for the cycle: 10 points

    —–
    Pitching

    Outs recorded : 1 point (3 points per inning)

    Wins: 5 points

    Wins: -5 points

    Base on balls: -1 point

    Earned runs: -2 points

    Strike outs: 1 point

    Saves: 5 points

    Complete games: 7 points

    No hitters: 15 points

    – I was planning on dropping Dunn, & would you keep both simmons & Ramirez? Or wait a few weeks into the season and see how they are doing? Since I have two good catchers would you try to trade Perez?

    Here are some Players im Looking into adding: kole Calhoun, leonys Martin, Jedd gyorko, Adam eaton, Nolan arenado, Jonathan villar, nick swisher, Evan gettis, michael Brantley , Jackie Bradley jr, Grady Sizemore, josh willingham, Paul konerko, bj upton, aoki, josh reddick, jimmy Rollins, Chris owings, asdrubal Cabrera. Who do think could be the next “puig” for this season? Or someone like Dom brown last season who played well- both of those I added on waivers in the summer time

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Water boy: Out of the FA you mentioned I like Leonys, Gyorko, Arenado, Reddick and Sizemore most. You probably shouldn’t have a backup C, and you don’t really need a backup SS either.

      Here’s a few possible moves:
      - Deal Victorino for a reliever and pick up Leonys or Grady
      - Package Sal with Dunn and pickup Gyorko and/or Arenado
      - Trade Pedroia for an elite reliever and replace him with Gyorko
      - I’d hate to just waive Dunn, but you could replace him with either Gyorko or Arenado
      - I’m not real big on Yelich
      - I’m guessing Carlos will get 3B in ESPN, and if he does and you want to be really nuts, do a blockbuster by trading Wright. Put Carlos at 3B, Sal at C and get Arenado as a backup 3B. If Sal fails, dump or trade and then move Carlos to C and Arenado to 3B.

      • Water boy says:
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        @Pete Nice:

        Thanks for the great insight!

        I see you mentioned that I don’t need a backup SS, which one would you keep; Andrelton Simmons or Alexi Ramirez?
        Also, would you look to trade tanaka? & if you recommend trading him what should I be looking for in return?

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @Water boy: Simmons

  12. Adam says:
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    Still don’t understand why people boost catchers that have multi position eligibility. I would never want to play a catcher at CI or OF, it’s punting any potential value they have.

    That said, I do like Sal Perez a lot too.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Adam: Hahaha you have a point I guess it’s just cool for some reason. In the case of Carlos having C, 1B and 3B, you can do a lot of things. It enables you to try a Sal, then you have Carlos as a backup for all three positions. Otherwise, you just have him as a C, but then you have the flexibility of snagging a catcher if he’s going nuts. Gattis is weird but not as useful, I guess.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Adam: I’d say Simmons. All Ramirez gives you is steals, and he getting old. Simmons is 22.

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