With a little more than a week to go in the 2021 season, Kings of Kauffman declared Salvador Perez a legitimate MVP candidate considering the outstanding campaign he was assured of having for the KC Royals.
And after the season, Kansas City fans can all agree Perez was certainly worthy of serious consideration for the prestigious award. After all, he slashed .273/.316/.544 with an .859 OPS, led the majors with 121 RBIs, broke Johnny Bench’s 51-year old major league record for the most home runs by a primary catcher with 48, tied Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the big league homer lead, and tied World Series MVP Jorge Soler’s single season Royals’ home run record.
As it turns out, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, which votes on the MVP for each league, didn’t see eye-to-eye with KC fans—the writers didn’t name him an American league MVP finalist Monday night. Instead, they picked Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, and the Blue Jays’ Guerrero and Marcus Semien.
Was it a mistake not to name KC Royals star Salvador Perez an MVP finalist?
For this question, an argument could be made for either side. The truth of the matter is there were plenty of stars worthy of consideration for MVP.
Ohtani has probably been a shoo-in for finalist since the middle of the season with his dual ability to hit and pitch. He slashed .257/.372/.592 with a .965 OPS, and his 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 stolen bases and 4.9 WAR are quite impressive considering he’s also on the mound every five days and posted a 9-2, 3.18 ERA record with 156 strikeouts and a 4.1pitching WAR.
Guerrero slashed .311/.401/.601. His 1.002 OPS and 123 runs scored both led the AL, and tying Perez for the major league homer lead certainly didn’t hurt. He also drove in 111 runs.
Semien slashed .265/.334/.538 with an .873 OPS. And although he led all second basemen with 45 home runs, he still fell short of Perez and Guerrero, as did his 102 RBIs.
There’s no arguing Ohtani and Guerrero are the top two finalists for AL MVP. But Perez not being the third is basically unthinkable, especially considering the incredible season he had. And his being snubbed Sunday night for the AL Gold Glove adds salt to the wound.
Although Salvador Perez had a remarkable career season in 2021, he isn’t a finalist for American League Most Valuable Player.