Ever since he was called up in 2011, Salvador Perez has won the hearts of the KC Royals and baseball fans alike. And why not? He has a great personality, kind smile, and plays the game like he’s still a kid on the sandlot.
Perez has put up consistent numbers throughout his 10-year major league career, slashing .270/.301/.457 with a .758 OPS. His best season, from solely a numbers perspective, might be 2013, when he slashed .292/.323/.433 with 13 home runs, 79 RBIs, and 25 doubles in 138 games.
And his performance in the short 2020 season was remarkable—returning after missing the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, he won the Comeback Player of the Year award after slashing .333/.353/.633 with a .986 OPS, 11 home runs, and 32 RBIs in 37 games.
It can be argued, though, that Perez is having his best season right now.
KC Royals fans know what Salvador Perez can do, so what’s different now?
Kansas City fans know full well what Perez brings to the table. He’s a rock behind the plate, one of the best catchers in baseball since his 2011 debut, and he’s good with the bat.
What’s different this year is Perez’s ability to put the ball in play. Along with his .278/.311/.522 slash, Perez has a .323 BABIP, the highest in his career not counting last year’s abbreviated season. His .833 OPS is also far above his career .758.
After homering twice in the Royals’ 8-4 victory over the Yankees Tuesday night, Perez now has a career-high 29 homers, which is a new season record for Royals catchers. His 72 RBIs also put him on the verge of breaking his single-season best of 80. The reason for Perez breaking these personal marks is the power he’s hitting for.
According to BaseballSavant, he has an average exit velocity of 95 mph and a hard-hit ball percentage of 55.9, which is 8.4 more than his previous high in 2018. And speaking of exit velocity, Perez’s maximum exit velocity off of home runs peaks at 114.4 mph.
With his ability to hit for power, it’s no wonder he was in this season’s Home Run Derby and was elected to his seventh All-Star Game appearance this year. He beat eventual Derby winner Pete Alonso, but his 28 home runs against Alonso in the first round were the most hit by a catcher in Derby history.
Salvador Perez’s defense is another of his great assets for the KC Royals.
Perez is no stranger to superb defense. He has a .997 fielding percentage this season, better than his career average of .995. He has 48 assists and has caught 11 runners trying to steal, giving him a 37.9 caught-stealing percentage, placing him first in the American League and only second in the majors to Yadier Molina.
Needless to say, Perez is well on his way to his earning his sixth Gold Glove, and maybe even other awards due to his impressive defensive and offensive numbers. But he has done this not only for his team, but for the fans.
After the 10-year anniversary of his big league debut yesterday, he told Alec Lewis, KC Royals beat writer for The Athletic, that he plays for the fans and is trying his best to put on a show for them every game (click Tweet for full text).
Without a doubt, every KC fan appreciates Perez, for not only is he a great player, but he’s also a fantastic person who truly cares about the people of Kansas City.
Salvador Perez may be having the best season of his 10-year major league career for the KC Royals.