Oklahoma City RedHawks catcher Carlos Perez isn’t one of the Houston Astros’ top prospects. His stats won’t wow you. But the 23-year-old Venezuelan has shown the past two seasons he can hold his own at the Triple-A level, which is one stop away from the majors.
“I try not to look at that,” Perez said. “I’m here in Oklahoma City to do my job. The only thing you can control is to be prepared every day, play hard and do the most I can to get better.”
A career .279 hitter in seven minor league seasons, Perez started his pro career at age 17. He owns a career .360 on-base percentage.
“Carlos has been one of our most consistent players, especially lately when we’ve been playing really good baseball,” said manager Tony DeFrancesco. “He battles every (at) bat, can hit-and-run and catches a great game. He throws runners out. He does a lot of good things. We’ve been very pleased.”
Perez, who supplied a pivotal two-run double in the RedHawks game against Albuquerque on Sunday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, is hitting .264 with six homers and 31 RBIs.
“The way I see it my (statistics) this year are not really good, not what I expect,” Perez said. “I think I can give more than that. I know I can hit better.”
Catchers are evaluated differently than most position players. Playing top-shelf defense and handling a pitching staff, nursing pitchers out of jams, are qualities greatly valued by Major League teams.
“I feel my defense and game-calling are really good,” Perez said. “My No. 1 focus every day is to be on the same page as our pitcher. As a catcher you have to work on a lot of things. It’s been good to be here with catching coach (Jeff Murphy) because he’s seen a lot of baseball he passes along to us.”
Major League teams usually call up an extra catcher when rosters expand in September, but Perez’s teammate, Max Stassi, is a Triple-A All-Star who is fourth among PCL catchers with 44 RBIs.
Another variable is Stassi already is on Houston’s 40-man roster. To make room for Perez, the Astros would have to expose a player to waiver claims.
“I just try to work hard at my job and what other things happen will happen,” Perez said. “If I were to go up that would be good for me, but I know we have a lot of really good catchers. All I can do is play hard and do my thing.”
The Astros are stacked at catcher.
Jason Castro, 27, represented the Astros at the 2013 Major League All-Star Game. Backup Houston catcher Carlos Corporan, a former RedHawk, has been a nice complement. Stassi appears to be ready following a brief Major League audition last year.
“This is a good organization to be in with a lot of good, young guys,” Perez said. “We all would like to be part of that when the Astros get really good. This is a very good team to be with right now. It’s fun when you play with a lot of really good players. I just try to play hard every day and improve.”