Salvador Perez might not have another monster season, but he can’t crater.
By now, the numbers, accomplishments and honors are etched indelibly into memory, unforgettable reminders of the special kind of season Salvador Perez had in 2021. He led the majors with 121 RBIs and tied for the lead with 48 homers. He hit .273, his highest full-season average since 2013.
Perez also broke Johnny Bench’s big league season record for most home runs by a primary catcher and tied the Royals’ single-season best. He won his fourth Silver Slugger, earned his seventh All-Star berth and set the Home Run Derby record for catchers.
Repeating such a season is probably too much to expect from Perez, or anyone else for that matter. Simply approaching what he did in 2021, or coming close to his career 162-game average of 28 home runs, 93 RBIs and .270/.302/.463 line, will be sufficient.
What Kansas City cannot afford, however, is a serious season-long slump from the perennial club backbone. Imagine the hart hit to an already questionable offense a plunge in Perez’s production could work. The 10-year veteran was Matheny’s go-to 2021 bat, the player everyone knew would come through in the clutch—he hit 29 more homers and drove in 47 more runs than any other Royal and posted a career-best 5.3 WAR.
The team simply can’t afford any significant prolonged downturn from Perez.