There is no denying the 2020 season was very good for the KC Royals fixture at the backstop. What statistics could a normal schedule have produced?
Salvador Perez was on his way to a fairly typical season on August 4th. His OPS of .709 was consistent with the prior six years save for 2017 when it reached .792. After that, he skyrocketed and turned in what is easily his best offensive production output ever.
Even a vision problem that eliminated almost a full month of baseball could not slow him down, he cranked out six consecutive multi-hit games upon his return. When all was finished his slash of .333/.353/.633 were career highs except for a .361 OBP he produced in an almost identical amount of PA’s back in 2011 – his rookie year.
Prior to an 0-for-15 skid to end the season he was at .360/.375/.683 for an OPS of 1.058 which is in video game territory. It would be easy to argue that had he played a near full allotment of games in a regular year the grind would have suppressed the statistics, but extrapolating what they could have been leads to some eye-popping figures.
From 2013, when he was full-time catcher, to 2018, Perez played an average of 138 games. In 2020, the injury limited him to 37 contests – roughly 25% of what he would normally put in. Based on that, the following outcomes could have been realized.
Salvy would have produced 200 hits, 48 doubles, 44 home runs, 128 runs batted in, and 12 walks. Those stats, except for the free passes, would easily surpass any other year. It would have been 50 more hits, 20 more doubles, 17 more dingers, and 48 more RBI’s. By the way, the base on balls are not a typo and, in fact, his career-high is only 22.
The craziest stretch is the 15 games he played between August 6 and September 18. In 52 at-bats he hit .462, smacked five homers, eight doubles, drove in 17 runs, and recorded two of his three walks on the season.
You can make the assumption he really missed baseball having sat out the 2019 year with an injury and then a delayed start to this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Even a reasonable decline next year would still be a plus to the KC Royals provided he stays healthy.
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Perez will turn 31 years old next May but if this season is any indication he has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.