Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez is Most Irreplaceable Player
The past two-and-a-half weeks have shown one glaring fact about the Kansas City Royals. Catcher Salvador Perez is by far the most irreplaceable player the team has, and it is not even close.
One of the more common debates over the year for the Kansas City Royals has been: “Who is the most irreplaceable player on the team?”
Due to all the soon-to-be free agents, some believe it is Eric Hosmer and his play at first and ability to spread the ball all over the field. Others believe it is Lorenzo Cain and his play in center field and his consistent bat. The rest most likely believe it is Mike Moustakas and his play at third base, as well as his power.
Fans are focusing on the future free agents when answering the question. Maybe we should focus our answer somewhere else though. Maybe the most irreplaceable player is Salvador Perez.
Kansas City Royals
Good news for the Kansas City Royals, they seem to have answered that question and he is locked up long-term with the team already. Unfortunately, that question had to be answered at a very inopportune time in the season.
Looking back on July 25, the Royals had just beaten the Detroit Tigers, were five games above .500 (52-47), and the Royals were 1.5 games behind Cleveland for the Central Division lead. More importantly, the Royals were also firmly in place in the Wild Card Game.
Needless to say, the team seemed to be sitting in a good spot to make the postseason.
Unfortunately, Perez was pulled from the game against the Tigers with rib soreness. After all the tests, reports came out that he would miss time due to an intercostal strain. Original reports suggested he could miss up to four weeks with the injury.
Post-Salvador Perez Injury
From July 26-August 21, the Royals had a team record of 10-14. In that time, they had dropped to being just one game above .500 (62-61) and fell to seven games behind Cleveland for the division. They also allowed Minnesota to jump them in the standings and sat 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card spot.
Granted, Perez played eight games during that span—clearly not at 100 percent—before re-injuring his side and being placed on the disabled list. Thankfully Perez was activated in time for Tuesday night’s win, but not before the pitching staff began a downward spiral.
As a team the Royals struggled without Perez, however the starting pitchers might have struggled the most.
- Danny Duffy posted a 4.88 ERA over four starts.
- Ian Kennedy posted a 6.84 ERA over five starts.
- Jason Hammel posted a 4.49 ERA over five starts.
- Trevor Cahill posted a 8.18 ERA over four starts.
- Jason Vargas posted a 5.86 ERA over five starts.
- Jake Junis posted a 1.93 ERA over two starts.
As a group, they posted a 5.32 ERA and averaged just over four innings per outing. Although it is not fair to expect Drew Butera and Cam Gallagher to play and call a game like Perez, that is a huge drop-off.
Offensively, Butera and Gallagher did a good job filling in for Perez. Through the 28 games they combined to hit .322 with two home runs, 11 RBI, and six walks to eight strikeouts. Defensively, it was not as positive.
The difference between the team having Perez in the lineup vs. not in the lineup is night and day. Pitchers are more comfortable with the five-time All-Star and soon-to-be five-time Gold Glover behind the plate. The offense seems more productive with Perez in the lineup as well.
The question of “who is the most irreplaceable player?” has an answer now. Salvador Perez is the most irreplaceable player on the Royals team.
Next: What's the Royals' Postseason Outlook?
What do you say Royals fans? Is Salvador Perez the most irreplaceable player? If not, who is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section and on social media.