Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s KC Royals Projections series for 2022. Between now and Opening Day, our writers are analyzing how various Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is Salvador Perez.
Salvador Perez had himself quite a season in 2021. His final .273/.316/.544 line was solid. His 121 RBIs led the majors while his 48 home runs tied him for the major league lead with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and tied the club single-season high.
He made his seventh All-Star team, won his fourth Silver Slugger and made the All-MLB Team for the second time in his career.
Perez also won the Luis Aparicio Award and was Kansas City’s Les Milgram Player of the Year.
He also participated in the 2021 Home Run Derby for the very first time, and although he was eliminated in the first round, his 28 home runs were the most hit by a catcher in Derby history and he, along with Shohei Ohtani, tied Josh Hamilton for the fifth most homers hit in a single round in Derby history.
After coming off a monster season of accolades, will Salvador Perez be able to maintain his performance in 2022?
Baseball Reference & FanGraphs projections for the KC Royals’ Salvador Perez.
Baseball Reference projects Perez will slash .269/.315/.511 with 35 home runs and 95 RBIs.
FanGraphs (Depth Chart Version) predicts Perez will finish .260/.301/.499 with 36 homers and 99 RBIs.
What kind of season will Salvador Perez actually have for the KC Royals?
Both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs believe that while Perez’s average will take a slight dip, he’ll still maintain his power.
Before he hit 48 home runs in 2021, the most Perez hit in a single season was 27 in both 2017 and 2018. A pitcher-friendly park like Kauffman Stadium makes the projections fairly reasonable. With all due consideration, both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs respect Perez’s power.
One negative about Perez’s power is that it may lead to more strikeouts. Last season, he fanned a career high 170 times, 51 more than his previous high of 119 in 2016. Perez had a 25.6 K% in 2021, up 2.5 percent from 2020 and over six percent from his 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Still, Baseball Reference views strikeouts being less of a hindrance for Perez this year, projecting he’ll get 144 of them. Likewise, FanGraphs predicts his K% will decrease to 24.6%.
Strikeouts and power often go hand in hand. But if Perez’s 2022 is like his 2021, strikeouts shouldn’t be a concern for the team as long he maintains his spectacular contributions on offense.
Another thing to watch out for with Perez is if he takes on more of a designated hitter role with hot catching prospect MJ Melendez waiting in the wings. Doing this will give Perez’s body a ton of rest and exact less wear and tear behind the plate—not a bad thing considering that 15 of Perez’s home runs last year came while playing 40 games at DH.
Salvador Perez will stay hot in the power department this season and prove 2021 was no fluke.