Plate discipline atop Perez's to-do list

World Series MVP eyes higher on-base percentage

Plate discipline atop Perez's to-do list

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- What could Royals catcher Salvador Perez possibly do to top his 2015 season?

After all, Perez was an All-Star. Again. He won a Gold Glove. Again. He hit a career-high 21 homers, which also set a single-season franchise record for a catcher.

Oh, and let's not forget that Perez is the reigning World Series Most Valuable Player.

"But really," Perez said, "I can get better."

The one area Perez, 25, wants to improve upon is plate discipline. He has been known throughout his career as a free swinger, drawing 75 walks in 2,148 career plate appearances.

Perez did manage to hit .260 last season, but his .280 on-base percentage was a career low. That, he said, has to improve.

"That's the one thing I want to do -- be more patient and see more pitches," Perez said. "I know I can get better pitches to hit if I'm more patient. It's hard, but I have to do it."

Perez doesn't want to lose his aggressiveness at the plate, but he also realizes that he can help the team by getting on base more frequently. And his average certainly will rise with more discipline.

"But yeah, I want to stay aggressive, like I always have," Perez said. "I need to be. But you can do both."

Royals manager Ned Yost believes it is all part of the learning curve for his young players.

"There's always room to grow for our young guys," Yost said. "He will wind up showing more patience at the plate, just like guys like [Mike Moustakas] and [Eric Hosmer] did. It just takes time.

"All of our guys have bought in to trusting the guy behind you. You don't have to be a hero. Just do your job. Salvy will get there, too."

Perez will get first crack at showing his new approach Sunday night against the Mets at Kauffman Stadium, which should be quite the show with all the pregame ceremonies and banner raising.

"It will be very special [Sunday night]," Perez said. "It will be fun, but we also have work to do.

"Last year was great, but we have to get back to work. We want to win again. It will be fun to see all of that Opening Night, but then we got a job to do."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.