Salvador Perez has become one of the main Venezuelan baseball players in MLB. In only four seasons, always wearing the Kansas City Royals’ uniform, this strong catcher has won the Golden Glove of the American League three times, he has participated in three All Star Games and he has already been given a champion ring, since his team won the World Series in 2015, where he was chosen Most Valuable Player.
At the age of 16, the Royals offered him a junior league contract. This player had had a complicated childhood because his father had totally abandoned the family. Perez found a safe place in the baseball realm, in Valencia, he stood out and caught the eyes of the Kansas City’s scouts.
For four year, Perez went through different levels of the Royals and, in August 2011, he was taken to the main team. His performance was great as a rookie, since he played in 39 games, with average of 339, 3 HRs and RBIs.
Before the beginning of the 2012 season, the executives of the team decided to invest in this young catcher and the offered him a 7-million contract through the end of the 2016 campaign, with a team option for another three year. If we analyze Perez’s performance, it wouldn’t be hard to say that the executives paid a low price for such level of talent.
2012 didn’t have a positive start for the Venezuelan player, because he got hit in the meniscus of his left knee during the spring training. This incident took him into the list of injured players and away from the field through July. Therefore, the number of games was reduced to 79. He delivered 11 HRs, 39 RBI and average of 301.
Since 2013, Perez conquered the catcher position with the Royals. The first half of his campaign was so good that he was handpicked for his first All Star Game. He received the balls pitched by great Mariano Rivera, from the New York Yankees, who retired after that season. Perez’s defensive skills were praised and he was chosen Golden Glove of the American League.
He also stood out with the bat in his hands, since he finished with 292— an excellent average for a catcher—, 13 home runs and 79 runs batted in. The Royals went up in the position board, but they didn’t make to the playoffs.
The definitive development took place in 2014. There were no injuries and Perez made the most of his great physical condition in order to become one of the leaders of the Royals, which was the surprise team in that campaign, by going to the playoffs as a “wild card”.
The Venezuelan baseball player was in the home position throughout 150 games, more than any other catcher in MLB. His average was 260, with 28 doubles, 17 HRs and 70 RBIs. In the playoffs, he shot the decisive hit that defeated the Oakland
Athletics in the wild card game y, afterwards, in the World Series, against the San Francisco Giants, he was the only player that batted one of southpaw Madison Bumgarner’s pitches.
That Autumn Classic was spectacular and it lasted all the way to the seventh game. When the Royals were down in the scoreboard, 3 - 2, they had their equalizer in third base, with two outs. Perez took the bat against Bumgarner. The pitcher’s cunning defined everything because, as a result of a high pitch, the Venezuelan player delivered an easy fly that was captured by another Venezuelan, Pablo Sandoval, thus putting an end to the Royals’ hopes of winning the title.
It was a new ball game a year later. Perez was healthy and he was chosen for his third All Star Games; moreover, he got the Golden Glove for the third year in a row and his numbers were similar to the results in 2014 (260 average, 70 RBIs, 21 HRs). The change could be felt in the playoffs. The Royals were back in the World Series, where they faced the New York Mets. This time round, with the bat in his hands, Perez was key to the first victory of Kansas City in three decades.
His high point came in the fifth game of the Series. The Mets were up in the scoreboard, but in the ninth the Royals’ batters gained momentum and Perez put the equalizer on the field. Afterwards, in extra innings, the Venezuelan baseball player delivered another important hit that paved the way for five careers. The catcher’s average was 364, with two doubles, three runs scored and two runs batted in. These numbers turned him into the Most Valuable Player of that World Series.