Long ago, in the year 2007, the Kansas City Royals were in need of a franchise-changing player. A young teenage catcher from Venezuela by the name of Salvador Perez stepped into that role. At only 16, Perez was signed by the Royals for $65,000 to begin his minor league career.
Fast forward to August 10th, 2011, and the budding star made his MLB debut for the Royals. He started against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. He picked off two baserunners, caught five popups, recorded his first RBI in the 4th inning, and first hit in the 7th inning. It was quite the debut, and it was enough to convince Kansas City that he was the real deal.
Fast forward to 2014, and the Kansas City Royals are playing in their first World Series since 1985. Perez logged more starts (143) than any other catcher in the MLB that year. Pérez played in a whopping 150 games in 2014, batting .260 with 28 doubles, 17 home runs, and 70 RBI. While the Royals did not win the title, Perez continued his dominance behind the plate.
Jump forward again only a year later in 2015. Perez and the Royals returned to the World Series to finish the job. Pérez batted .364 in the 2015 World Series, which the Royals would go on to win in five games.
Salvador was voted the unanimous series MVP, bringing a World Series back to Kansas City for the first time since their last appearance. Just when it looked like he could do no better, Salvador Perez has been having a season to remember in 2021.
2021 Salvy Is Different
Despite another down year for the Royals, Salvador Perez is having the best season of his career. While it will not end in a World Series title, being in the record books is always a plus. As the regular season comes to a close, Perez will end the season as the single-season record-holder for home runs by a primary catcher (46 and counting).
The record, previously held by Johnny Bench, was set back in 1970 but move aside for Salvy. In the midst of his incredible season, Perez has set himself as the leader in RBI’s and tied for first in home runs.
Overall, Perez has a hitting line of .276/.317/.863, all of which are higher up in career performances. Salvy has shown that even catchers can still smash the baseball. He is usually known for his defense, but 2021 could change that narrative. Salvy is very much a dual-threat catcher, capable of picking you off on defense then turning around to smash a home run in his next at-bat.
Is This The Best Offensive Season In Royals History?
While all of the home runs and RBI’s are impressive, it is only those two categories where Salvy jumps off the page. There have been some great offensive seasons in Royals history, so I do not think Salvy’s 2021 will make it as the best season ever.
George Brett owns that title due to his unreal 1980 season where he showcased a batting line of .390/.454/.664 overall. Brett nearly eclipsed the insane feat of hitting over .400 but fell short despite hitting .494 in the month of July. Unfortunately for Salvy, he is hitting well below .390 despite owning a top 10 batting average.
If I had to place Salvys 2021 season in Royals history, it may be the tenth-best if he can pass Jorge Solers’ club record of 48 homers in a season. It may seem too harsh but despite HRs and RBIs, Salvy does not quite match up with some of the other performances in Royals history.
The 2021 season has been a special one for Salvador. It has been one of the best offensive seasons for a catcher of all time both in Royals history as well as MLB history. It would magnify his resume if Kansas City was playoff-bound, but unfortunately, that will not happen this year.
Perez is solidifying his hall of fame resume even further by having such a stellar year. Will he repeat it? Probably not, but we should celebrate this once-in-a-career feat for him and appreciate history while it is in front of us. Congrats on a big year Salvy!
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