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MLB Network analysts on why Royals' Salvador Perez is worthy of MVP consideration

Kansas City Star logo Kansas City Star 10/7/2021 Pete Grathoff, The Kansas City Star

Oct. 7—Angels star Shohei Ohtani has made it easy on members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who are voting for the American League MVP.

Ohtani, who hit 46 home runs, stole 26 bases, won nine games and struck out 156 batters is a lock to be picked first by the BBWAA voters. Per Baseball Reference, no MLB player is near Ohtani's 9.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

Where the other nine names are placed on the ballots will be interesting to see.

A trio of MLB Network studio panelists this week discussed why Royals catcher Salvador Perez deserves to be part of the MVP conversation.

Former big-league manager Buck Showalter said fans today will never see a season like the one Perez's. His 48 home runs tied for the most in Major League Baseball, and his 121 RBIs were first overall.

Perez had 337 total bases, which were third most in baseball.

"I look at things that are so hard to do and Salvador Perez, what he's been able to do as a catcher in Kansas City, is worthy of consideration," Showalter said. "We know that Ohtani is going to win and rightfully probably so. But Salvador Perez, take a picture, because you're not going to see a catcher do this again in your lifetime.

"To play that many games, catch that many games, hit that many home runs and be that type of force offensively, driving in runs on a club (where) the focus is completely on him for other pitchers every time he comes up."

Brian Kenney noted the number of games Perez played behind the plate.

"He caught 124 games he played 161. One sixty-one," Kenney said. "He played every day but one day (with) 48 homers 121 RBIs, and I wondered this, and I asked our researchers, I said he had 337 total bases, how many catchers have ever had that many total bases? And the answer, Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza."

Bench and Piazza are tied for first all-time with 355 total bases. Bench's game in the 1970 season when he hit 45 homers with 148 RBIs. Piazza hit 40 homers with 32 doubles and 124 RBIs for the Dodgers in 1997.

Jon Heyman agreed that Perez is worthy of being in the MVP conversation.

"Perez is an iron man, he always has been and he's got tremendous power," Heyman said. "That's a pitcher's park I give him all the credit in the world. He's certainly in MVP consideration."

Here is their conversation:

This story was originally published October 7, 2021 8:55 AM.

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