Kansas City Royals: Salvador Perez
This was one of the more difficult choices of this project, with more people whom I canvassed naming first baseman Eric Hosmer than Perez. The No. 3 pick of the 2008 draft, Hosmer has vacillated between solid seasons and subpar ones, all of which have been papered over by timely postseason performances. "I guess it depends on who the face is for," replied Baseball Prospectus co-founder, Royals blogger and former Grantland writer Rany Jazayerli. "If it’s for the fans—Hosmer. If it’s for baseball people—Salvy.”
Every choice here is a snapshot in time, but with Hosmer a pending free agent who's in danger of being traded this summer due to the team's sluggish start, the vote goes to Perez, who, it should be pointed out, led all major league players in last year’s All-Star voting. His five-year, $7 million deal signed in 2012 paid big enough dividends that nobody blinked when the team extended him for another five (through 2021) at $52.5 million. Though hardly an elite hitter, Perez's durability, defense, power and pitcher handling have put him at the center of the Kansas City's turnaround—and its future.