KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and catcher Salvador Perez have been named American League finalists for the 2023 Louisville Silver Slugger Awards, as announced by Louisville Slugger today. Witt Jr. is one of three AL finalists at shortstop, along with Seattle’s J.P. Crawford and Texas’ Corey Seager, while Perez is joined by Seattle’s Cal Raleigh and Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman as candidates at the catcher position. Finalists are based on votes cast by managers and coaches in each league to determine the best offensive producers at each position.
All Louisville Silver Slugger Award winners will be announced on MLB Network during an hour-long telecast beginning at 5:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, Nov. 9.
Witt Jr., who is seeking his first career Silver Slugger Award, recorded 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-23 season in 2023, becoming the first player in Royals history with a 30-homer, 30-steal campaign. Only four other players have matched Witt Jr.’s combination of home runs and stolen bases in a season, a feat that was also achieved by Eric Davis (1987), Barry Bonds (1990), Mike Trout (2012) and Ronald Acuña Jr. (2023). He ranked 3rd in the American League in 2023 with 177 hits, trailing Marcus Semien (185) and Julio Rodríguez (180), and he led the Majors with 11 triples, the most by a Royal since Carlos Beltrán had 12 triples in 2001. Witt Jr. became the sixth American League player in the last 75 years with at least 30 home runs and 10 triples in a season, following Joe DiMaggio (1950), Mickey Mantle (1955), Jim Rice (1977 and 1978), Nomar Garciaparra (1997) and Curtis Granderson (2011). Among all American League leaders in 2023, Witt Jr. ranked 2nd in stolen bases, tied for 3rd in total bases (317), tied for 7th in runs scored (97), 8th in extra-base hits (69) and tied for 9th in batting average (.276).
Perez hit 23 home runs in 2023 to mark his seventh career season with at least 20 homers, breaking a tie with Royals Hall of Famer Mike Sweeney for the 2nd most such seasons in Royals history, and he trails only Hall of Famer George Brett (8) for the club record. He also recorded his sixth season with at least 75 RBI, which ranks 4th most in franchise history behind only Brett (12), Sweeney (7) and Amos Otis (7). Among primary catchers in 2023, he ranked tied for 2nd in RBI (80), 3rd in hits (137), 3rd in multi-hit games (38), tied for 3rd in home runs and 6th in slugging percentage (.422). Perez finished the season with 246 career home runs, which are the 4th most homers by any primary catcher with a single team, behind only Johnny Bench (389 with Cincinnati), Yogi Berra (358 with the Yankees) and Jorge Posada (275 with the Yankees). His 246 career home runs lead all active catchers (min. 75% of games at catcher).
Should Perez win the award (which was established in 1980), it would be his fifth career honor, following 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2021. His four career Silver Slugger Awards are already a club record, ahead of Brett’s three. He would become the ninth player to win at least five Louisville Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, along with Mike Piazza (10), Iván Rodríguez (7), Brian McCann (6), Lance Parrish (6), Gary Carter (5), Joe Mauer (5), Jorge Posada (5) and Buster Posey (5).