Royals’ Salvador Perez named All-MLB First Team catcher

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez received yet another honor in recognition of his stellar 2020 season on Wednesday night.

Perez was named the All-MLB First Team catcher as Major League Baseball unveiled selections for the second annual All-MLB Team. The first and second teams were selected by a combination of voting from fans and a decorated panel of media members, broadcasters, former players and other officials throughout the game. Each team honored one catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop and designated hitter, plus three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers.

Perez was selected the First Team catcher over two other finalists, Atlanta’s Travis d’Arnaud and Philadelphia’s J.T. Realmuto.

Perez earned his third Louisville Silver Slugger Award earlier this offseason and is also a six-time All-Star and a five-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner. In 2020, he set career highs in batting average (.333) and slugging percentage (.633) and despite playing in just 37 of 60 games, led the Royals in homers (11) and go-ahead RBIs (8), while ranking second in total RBIs (32) and extra-base hits (23).

His 11 homers were tied for third-most in major league history by a player who appeared in 37 games or fewer, trailing only Frank Thomas, who went deep 12 times in 34 games while battling multiple injuries in 2005, and Ted Williams, who hit 13 homers in 37 games after returning from the Korean War late in the 1953 season. All 11 of his home runs came as a catcher, matching Realmuto for the most in the big leagues as a catcher, while Perez’s batting average (.348), slugging percentage (.681) and OPS (1.048) as a catcher were all tops in the majors (min. 100 AB).

Perez returned to the Royals after missing the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery. He was out from Aug. 21-Sept. 11 in 2020 due to swelling in his left eye. From the time of his return to the end of the season, he was tied for second in the majors in RBIs (20), extra-base hits (13) and total bases (50), was third in slugging (.806) and tied for third in homers (7). He led all of MLB in batting average (.451) from Sept. 11-24.

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