Despite a Gold Glove snub and not making the final cut for the American League MVP award, there is no disputing how much of an explosive impact Salvador Perez had offensively for the 2021 KC Royals.
Proof enough is that the baseball professionals who vote for the Silver Slugger awards—Perez’s opposing managers and coaches—chose Perez for the 2021 award for AL catchers Thursday.
Perez beat out Mike Zunino of the Rays and Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. Zunino and Sanchez hit 33 and 23 home runs, respectively, and Zunino slashed .216/.301/.559 while Sanchez posted a line of .204/.307/.423.
Those numbers simply couldn’t compete with Perez’s historic season.
Perez slashed .273/.316/.544 with an .859 OPS and 126 OPS+. His 48 home runs broke Hall of Famer Johnny Bench’s half-century-old primary catcher homer record, tied him for the major league lead, and tied Jorge Soler’s single-season club record. He hit the most homers by a catcher in Home Run Derby history. He led the big leagues with 121 RBIs.
He also led American League catchers in several other important offensive categories.
And by grabbing his fourth Silver Slugger, Perez broke a franchise record.
Salvador Perez surpassed a Hall of Fame KC Royals legend in Silver Sluggers.
Perez’s fourth Silver Slugger gives him the all-time franchise lead—he now has one more than Royal legend and Hall of Famer George Brett.
Brett won the Silver Slugger three times in his fabled career. The first one came in 1980, when he flirted with hitting .400 for the season and finished at .390; he also had 24 homers, 118 RBIs, and a 203 OPS+. The second came in the club’s 1985 World Series championship season when he hit .335 with 30 home runs, 112 RBIs, and a 1.022 OPS. Brett won his third silver bat in 1988 when he slashed .306/.389/.509, homered 24 times, and drove in 103 runs.
Winning the 2021 prize also gives Perez his fourth Silver Slugger in the last five seasons he’s played—he also won in 2016, 2018 and 2020, but Tommy John surgery wiped out his entire season and robbed him of the chance to win in 2019. Perez’s 22 home runs and 64 RBIs in 139 games helped him win in 2016, 27 homers and 80 RBIs in 10 fewer games boosted him to the 2018 award, and he won for the shortened 2020 season when he slashed .333/.353/.633 with a .986 OPS to go along with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 37 games.
A fourth Silver Slugger award is Salvador Perez’s reward for a monumental 2021 season at the plate for the KC Royals.