Opposing pitchers have had a much easier time dealing with Aeros catcher Roberto Perez this season than opposing base runners.
Perez has never been billed as a prolific hitter and is hitting .213 with one home run after finishing last season at .225 at Class-A Kinston.
He’s probably never going to be a .300-hitting catcher in the middle of some team’s lineup. All he’s looking for is to get something out of each at-bat. Perez spent most of the winter in Puerto Rico trying to learn how to relax and let the game come to him.
“I’ve been trying to get more consistent at-bats,” Perez said. “I feel like sometimes I try to do a little too much at the plate.”
He’s become a more patient hitter, and has nearly as many walks (42) as hits (48) this season.
“I think I have a good plan at the plate and I wait for my pitch,” he said. “When I don’t get [it], I don’t swing.”
Manager Chris Tremie has been working with Perez.
“Nothing huge, just little adjustments here and there like getting his foot down,” Tremie said. “Getting ready to strike the ball, things like that. He’s had some good at-bats.”
Perez is hitting .258 (8-for-31) in his past 10 games, but he reached the Double-A level mainly with his arm.
Perez was in the top three in the Carolina League last year in fielding percentage and caught-stealing percentage. This season, he’s throwing out a shade more than 40 percent of runners who try to steal on him and he’s leading the Eastern League by nabbing 43 would-be base stealers.
“Defensively, I’m not trying to do too much,” he said. “It’s kind of the opposite of what I’m doing while hitting right now. I’m just trying to stay under control and trying to put the ball on second base.”
When he’s not driving in runs, he can take some pride in not allowing the other guy to score, either.
“When I’m not hitting, I try to play more defense,” he said. “You never know when the game will need you to step up.”
Perez has the tools to be successful behind the plate — quick exchange along with a strong and accurate arm. Tremie says his timing from when he gets the ball to when it’s hitting second is between 1.8 and 1.95 seconds, which is right where he needs to be.
In that 1.8 seconds, Perez can take more solace in throwing someone out than driving in a runner when he is at the plate.
“It’s nice to put some runs on the board, but defensively when they try to run and you got ’em, that’s pretty fun,” he said.
Game rained out
Thursday night’s game between the Aeros and Bowie Baysox was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader (two seven-inning games) beginning at 6 tonight. Fireworks will follow the second game.
Fans with tickets for Thursday night’s game may exchange them for the makeup game tonight or any remaining home game on the schedule.
Fans must redeem their tickets in person at the Canal Park box office.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.