Salvador Perez was the face of the KC Royals before missing the 2020 season with an injury. Will he reclaim that throne in 2020?
Welcome to the final installment of Kings of Kauffman‘s 2020 KC Royals season previews. Leading up to spring training, we broke down 30 different Royals. Our analysis included what they accomplished last season, what to expect this season, along with any other information pertinent to the player. Today’s subject: Salvador Perez.
Perez has been a Royal for his entire career. After debuting in 2011, he never looked back. He stole the hearts of many fans as a result of his contagious smile, terrific defense and even better leadership. Without Salvador Perez, the Kansas City Royals wouldn’t be what they are today — and certainly wouldn’t have been what they were in 2014 and 2015.
What did he offer last season?
Perez missed the entire 2019 season as a result of Tommy John surgery. Instead of ending it at that, we can go ahead and take a look at his least healthy season: 2018.
His performance at the plate took a dip compared to 2017 (OPS dropped from .792 to 713) but overall, Perez was still one of the best catchers in the game. In addition to making his sixth-straight All-Star team, winning both his fifth Gold Glove and being awarded the Silver Slugger trophy for the second time, Perez added 27 home runs and 80 RBIs. Astonishingly enough, he hit 27 home runs to go with 80 RBIs the season before, too.
What should we expect in 2020?
B-Ref: 254 PA, .250/.295/.462 line, 13 HR, 37 RBI, .757 OPS
FG: 547 PA, .250/.287/.462 line, 27 HR, 80 RBI, .749 OPS
Both of these projections are along the same lines, but one of them calls for twice the amount of playing time. Something in between 254 (way too low) and 547 (probably a bit too high) plate appearances for Perez seems ideal. The two slash lines look remarkably similar, and there’s just something about 27 home runs and 80 ribbies. Odd, but definitely not out of the question in Perez’s return to baseball.
It’s almost weird to think that the KC Royals were without Salvador Perez on the field for an entire season. While his return to the lineup won’t make the team a playoff contender, it will pay dividends. Perez’s defense is second to none and his ability to control a game and connect with his pitchers cannot be understated. Expect him to bounce back and remind everyone why although he was hurt, not many people forgot just how good Salvy can be.
What do you think, KC Royals fans? Will Salvador Perez pick up where he left off, or will he struggle as he returns from a serious injury?