The one where a stat says Sal Perez is off to a (slightly) better hitting start than Joe Mauer
The Kansas City Star
You probably already know that Sal Perez is awesome. Rustin Dodd told you so on Sunday.
He just turned 23 last week, and is already building a case as one of the best catchers in baseball. He also played his 150th game last night, with his 600th plate appearance, which is a heavy season for most catchers but apparently just scrapping by in Ned Yost’s masterplan but either way provides a milemarker of sorts that we can compare Perez’s awesomeness to the awesomeness of other catchers.
Now, I’m sure there’s a way you can search directly for a player’s stats in his first 150 games or 600 plate appearances, but I don’t know where that exists — without doing the math myself, and screw that noise — so I’m finding the closest breaking points with these other guys. This is only offense, obviously, which is supposed to be Perez’s weakness.
The number I’m focused on here is the OPS+^, which says Perez is off to a slightly better start offensively than — ahem — Joe Mauer. Now, obviously this doesn’t mean Perez is going to win batting titles and lead the league in batting, on-base and slugging someday like Mauer has. But it is a strong point that the guy’s bat is coming along much faster than most scouts thought.
^ For the un-nerdy, OPS+ is an OPS adjusted for factors like ballparks and league environments. An OPS+ of 100 is exactly league average; 110 is 10 percent better, 90 is 10 percent worse, etc.
Here she is:
Sal Perez: .309, 15 HR, 74 RBIs, 32 2B, .335 OBP, .455 SLG, 115 OPS+.
Buster Posey (160 games, 645 plate appearances): .294, 22 HR, 88 RBIs, 28 2B, .353 OBP, .462 SLG, 123 OPS+.
Joe Mauer (166 games, 676 plate appearances): .297, 15 HR, 72 RBI, 34 2B, .371 OBP, .440 SLG, 113 OPS+.
Yodier Molina (165 games, 572 plate appearances): .256, 10 HR, 64 RBI, 21 2B, .304 OBP, .358 SLG, 72 OPS+.
Matt Wieters (226 games, 887 plate appearances): .266, 20 HR, 98 RBI, 37 2B, .328 OBP, .393 SLG, 93 OPS+.
Carlos Santana (201 games, 850 plate appearances): .244, 33 HR, 101 RBI, 48 2B, .362 OBP, .459 SLG, 130 OPS+.