KC Royals: Top 3 midseason overperformers revisited

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Salvador Perez
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

We recently revisited Kings of Kauffman’s midseason choices for KC Royals underperformers to see how they played after the All-Star Break. Now, we’re doing the same for our three midseason overperformers—players who played better than initially expected during the first half of the season.

Salvador Perez was truly great for the KC Royals throughout the 2021 season.

What’s there to say about Salvador Perez that hasn’t already been said?

Kansas City fans knew just what Perez was capable of before the season even began. But he managed to surprise baseball fans everywhere when he went on an absolute tear in the second half—even more of a tear than he’d been on in the first.

Perez had 21 home runs and was slashing .275/.300/.501 at the All-Star Break. Although his average dropped a bit in the second half (.269), he slammed six more homers than he had in the first half, his OBP was 34 points better, and he slugged 97 points higher.

He finished the season with a slash of .273/.316/.544 and an .859 OPS, and notched career highs in three key categories. His 121 RBIs led the majors and he was surprisingly more patient at the plate with28 walks; but it was Perez’s home runs that really stood out.

Indeed, his 48 homers not only broke Johnny Bench’s 51-year-old record for the most hit by a primary catcher, but he also finished tied for the 2021 major league lead with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. And those 48 blasts also tied Jorge Soler for the Royals’ club record for the most in a single season.

While Perez was off the charts as a hitter, his defense was as great as ever.

His .998 fielding percentage was second in the majors, and he led the big leagues with 61 assists, 12 double plays turned, and a 43.9 caught stealing percentage.

And his philanthropy efforts earned Perez a nomination for the coveted Roberto Clemente Award, and his offensive firepower made him a candidate for the Hank Aaron Award.

Overall, there’s no doubt Perez was truly the Royals’ heart and soul this season.