In 157 games and 606 plate appearances, Perez has knocked 48 balls out of the park, with 121 RBI.
He is slashing .277/.318/.553 with an excellent .871 OPS for the year.
He has some clear weaknesses, such as taking walks and pitch framing (the art of stealing strikes by a catcher), but overall, he has had an excellent performance in the 2021 campaign, especially considering the position he plays.
Catchers aren’t supposed to hit like this.
He Did The Heavy Lifting In A Mediocre Lineup, But Things Are About To Change
Yet Perez is doing the heavy lifting on an up-and-coming team with a mediocre lineup.
Consider the fact that more than half of the times he scored a run (87 in total), he drove himself in with a home run.
Yes, he could take some more walks, but he also hasn’t gotten too much help from his teammates, and that’s why the Royals were never really in the playoff picture.
Next year, things may begin to change for Kansas City.
Perez, who signed a contract extension this year that will keep him in Kansas City at least through the end of the 2025 season, will likely lead the new generation of Royals’ prospects ready to make some noise and help the team contend in 2022.
Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and fellow sluggers Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez (who plays catcher, too) each hit more than 30 home runs in the minor leagues this season and will presumably play with the Royals next season, joining forces with the surging Nicky Lopez, the spectacular but inconsistent Adalberto Mondesi, the talented Andrew Benintendi, and the recently extended Michael A. Taylor, among others.
Perez signed for $82 million through four years after 2021, with a $13.5 million option for 2026.
— The 3 Point Conversion (@3ptCnvrsn) March 21, 2021
If everything goes according to the plan, he will oversee those guys’ progress and slowly pass the torch while the team is in the thick of things.
Salvy showed this year that, even at 31 years old, he can still mash with the best of them.
With his 48 home runs, he eclipsed the previous record for most homers by a catcher in a single season, established in 1970 by Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.
Bench himself congratulated Perez in a really classy move.
— Johnny Bench (@JohnnyBench_5) September 20, 2021
Can He Reach 50 Home Runs?
He may still have time to go for 50 blasts if he can play over the weekend.
He slipped on the dugout steps this week, injuring his ankle in the process, so his availability for the remainder of the week is currently in doubt.
He said he is optimistic about returning to the lineup as soon as Thursday.
In any case, weekend games or not, what he has accomplished this season is truly special.
He has a reputation as an “Ironman”, and deservedly so.
Perez usually plays a lot, but with 157 games in 2021, he established a career-high.
Despite being already on the wrong side of 30, Perez remains a big part of the Royals’ plans for the next few years, as evidenced by his extension.
For now, though, let the man enjoy a truly wonderful season.