After the best season of his career, the wait is over. Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has won the 2021 Silver Slugger Award for American League catchers.
On Thursday afternoon, Perez officially beat out Mike Zunino of the Tampa Bay Rays and Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees for the award. It was his fourth career Silver Slugger win, passing Hall of Famer George Brett and giving the 31-year-old the most in club history.
By the time it was all said and done in regards to the 2021 campaign, Perez had locked up the award. While Zunino had the slight edge in SLG (.559 vs. .544) and wRC+ (134 vs. 127), Perez set the single-season record for home runs by a primary catcher with a staggering 48. Zunino had a breakout season for the Rays and likely would win in just about any other season, but not this one. Perez was simply that good.
In 161 games this year, Perez posted a .273/.316/.544 line with the aforementioned 48 jacks — which was tied with Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the league lead. Perez topped all of baseball in RBIs this season with 121.
While Perez was nothing short of brilliant at the plate in 2021, he had a solid season behind the dish as well. He was nominated for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award this season due to his elite arm and instincts, although he was one of two (and possibly three) Royals to miss out on winning. Nevertheless, Perez had a historic season and at this point in his career, he isn't showing any signs of slowing down. This award is another reason why that's the case.