KC Royals: Predicting the 2022 Opening Day lineup

(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Salvador Perez
(Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

Batting third and catching for the KC Royals: All-Star Salvador Perez.

Duplicating the monster season he had last year is a lot to ask, but if he comes anywhere close to what he did in 2021, Salvador Perez will once again be a Kansas City highlight.

Perez exploded last year. His 48 homers broke Johnny Bench’s all-time record for primary catchers, tied the Royals’ club record and tied him for the major league lead. He led the big leagues with 121 RBIs, made his seventh American League All-Star team and won a team record fourth Silver Slugger award.

What better Royal is there to hit in the critical third spot for Kansas City?

Perez will be in the first year of the historic multi-year contract he signed last spring, one that may, when all is said and done, mitigate the grumblings generated by the underperformances of Danny Duffy and Alex Gordon after they received huge deals. But Perez, who turns 32 next month and is entering his 11th big league season, will have to perform well to make that happen.

Look for him to do just that. Perez seems to improve every year and, while surpassing last year’s numbers will be a formidable and improbable task, just equaling his career 162-game average—28 homers, 93 RBIs and .270 batting average—will more than justify batting him third.