The Kansas City Royals starting catcher, Salvador Perez, suffered a knee injury while playing for Team Venezuela in a World Baseball Classic game on Saturday. Team Venezuela released a statement saying that Perez had an MRI that showed only inflammation and no structural damage. The team also said he will miss the remainder of the World Baseball Classic.
According the the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh, the inflammation that the MRI reveals is consistent with a knee sprain. A knee sprain typically causes players to miss two to four weeks.
Perez had hit a home run earlier in the game and was a player who bolstered the back of the lineup. The injury to Perez will directly impact Venezuela before it affects the Kansas City Royals who begin their season in April.
32-year-old Robinson Chirinos is the only other active catcher on Team Venezuela’s roster. He will likely start for the country in the remaining games in the tournament. Chirinos is about to begin his fifth season with the Texas Rangers where he has has served primarily as a backup catcher. He has a lifetime .230 batting average and 33 home runs.
However, since the injury puts Perez at risk to begin the season on the disabled list, or at least miss time to start the season. Catchers put a lot of pressure on their knees all season, team’s tend to be careful when dealing catchers who have similar injuries.
Perez is a top ten catcher as far as fantasy baseball is concerned. He hit 22 home runs and drove in 64 runs while batting .247 in 2016. His power will be there, but his batting average has declined each season he has been in the majors. The injury give fantasy owners more reasons to consider drafting another catcher who is healthier start season. Such as Wellington Castillo.
The Royals will look to veteran catcher Drew Butera to open the season at catcher until Perez is fully healthy. The veteran journeyman is a lifetime .198 hitter. But in his first full season backing up Perez in Kansas City, he hit .285 in 123 at-bats. Even so, he is barely worth a flier when their are plenty of younger catchers on the waiver wires that should have more value than Butera.