KANSAS CITY -- All-Star catcher Salvador Perez's ability to thwart basestealers was on display again in the Royals' 1-0 victory over the Tigers on Friday night. He cut down Andy Dirks with an on-target throw to end the fifth inning.
That, according to the Royals' statistics, gave Perez 12 runners thrown out, third most in the American League. That's in 39 attempts, a 30.8 percent success rate.
Baserunners really steal on the pitchers, which makes it important for the pitcher to have a quick delivery to the plate.
"If Sal's given the opportunity, nine times out of 10 he's going to throw you out. But you have to have the opportunity," manager Ned Yost said.
Pitchers try to have a release time of 1.3 seconds or lower.
"Yesterday, [Ervin] Santana was 1.26, Sal was 1.84 -- which is spectacular. The Major League average is right at 2-flat," Yost said. "So even the best throwing catchers are in the mid-1.9s or the low-1.9s and when Sal gets off a throw like he did yesterday, it's in the mid-1.8s."
In short, Perez's lightning-fast release on throws is a great help to the pitcher. It's also a deterrent for other teams to even attempt a steal.
Last year in a season shortened by knee surgery, Perez caught 15 runners in 40 attempts and his 37.5 percent led AL catchers who were in at least 70 games.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.