3 early KC Royals candidates poised for the All-Star Game

These three Kansas City are playing at an elite level to begin the 2024 campaign.
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2. C Salvador Perez

One number why: 184 wRC+ (Leads all AL catchers)
One reason why: Name recognition

Perez had a rough 2023 campaign, arguably the worst in his career. Kansas City's captain needed a big bounceback in 2024, to both raise the team's ceiling and justify his remaining contract. Thankfully he is doing both emphatically so far in 2024.

As of April 23, Perez's .998 OPS and .598 slugging rank 4th among all AL batters, while his .341 batting average ranks 5th. He is keeping the line moving unusually: walking. He has drawn multiple walks twice since April 16, which doesn't sound like much. But considering he only has 10 career multi-walk games in his previous 1,411 games, this recent stretch is even more impressive. Perez currently sports a 7.8% walk rate, by far his career high, and is second-best among AL catchers.

Salvy's primary value will always lie in his power and that is not disappointing either. El Capitán's six home runs are the third-most among AL batters, only trailing future Hall of Famer Mike Trout and resurgent outfielder Tyler O'Neil so far in 2024. Whether it be extra-base hits or the long ball, it all contributes to Perez's 22 RBI so far, leading the Royals by a wide margin and tied for the most in the AL.

I have been critical of Perez's framing skills in the past, but he is one of MLB's best at it so far this season. According to Baseball Savant, he ranks in the 92nd percentile for framing, a major improvement from his 10th percentile mark in 2023. Perez behind the plate has done nothing but help Kansas City's pitching staff this year.

All that together has Salvy looking like the AL's best catcher this season. It will be interesting to see how long the Venezuelan can continue this pace. If it holds through June, he is an All-Star lock. If it holds through August though, Peez will once again garner MVP consideration.