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Royals Catchers Look to be Average, Again, in 2012

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CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals hits against the Chicago White Sox September 25, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals hits against the Chicago White Sox September 25, 2011 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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The Royals catchers have never been great at hitting. The are usually just good enough to be average. In 2011, it was really no different. Here are the OPS for all AL and Royals catchers over the past 5 years.

Year AL Royals
2011 0.696 0.693
2010 0.686 0.628
2009 0.724 0.814
2008 0.715 0.678
2007 0.713 0.663
5 Year Average 0.705 0.703

Over the past 5 years, the Royals catchers have been almost exactly league average. The average value would have looked a little better without Jason Kendall's 0.615 OPS in 118 games in 2010. This league average trend will probably continue in 2012 with switch-hitting Brayan Pena and right-handed Salvador Perez.

I would expect to Perez to get 2/3rds of the starts and all the starts versus LHP. This playing time expectation is not written in stone, but I expect the powers to be will take a long look at him this season. Oliver projections (available at the hardballtimes.com) have him hitting a triple slash line of 0.263/0.292/0.386 for an OPS of 0.678. This value is just under about where the league average has been over the last couple of years.

For Brayan, the outlook is not as rosy. His Oliver projection has him hitting 0.241/0.282/0.346 with an OPS of 0.628. This value is in line with his OPS over the last couple of years (0.626 in 2010 and 0.652 in 2011). The key to look at here is that about 1/3 of his PA were against LHP. I would hope that Ned starts him only against RHP. He does much better against RHP (career 0.676 OPS) than LHP (career 0.603 OPS).

The two catchers look to have an OPS somewhere near the 0.675 value, which would be just below the league average over the last couple of years. What do you think? Is it more of the same with "average-ish" producing catchers? Better than league production? Worse?