KANSAS CITY, MO (December 10, 2020) – Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has been named the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year, Major League Baseball announced this evening. The Comeback Player of the Year Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and have been presented annually since 2005 to one player in each league who has re-emerged on the field during the season. The 30 Club beat reporters from MLB.com selected the winners from an original list of 30 candidates (one per MLB Club).
Perez, who missed the entire 2019 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, returned to the field in 2020 and hit a career-best .333 with 11 homers and 32 RBI over 37 games played. The 30-year-old added 12 doubles, 22 runs scored, 17 walks and one stolen base, while recording a .353 on-base percentage and a career-high .633 slugging percentage, which was the second-highest in franchise history behind only Hall of Famer George Brett, who amassed a .664 mark during his AL MVP Award-winning season in 1980. The 11 home runs hit by Perez led the Club and were tied for third-most by a player who played 37 games-or-fewer, trailing only Hall of Famers Frank Thomas (12 in 34 games) in 2005 and Ted Williams (13 in 37 games) in 1953. Additionally, the Valencia, Venezuela native paced the Royals with eight go-ahead RBI and finished second on the team in RBI and extra-base hits (23).
The six-time All-Star, who was named an All-MLB First Team selection last night, recorded multiple hits, including an extra-base hit, in six consecutive games from Sept. 11-18. He became the second player in Royals history to accomplish the feat, joining Brett (July 1990), and third catcher in the modern era (since 1900) to do so, joining Smoky Burgess (April/May 1959) and Jimmie Foxx (August 1940). Perez, a five-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, did not commit an error on the season and has gone 153 consecutive errorless games behind the plate, dating back to Sept. 3, 2017.
Perez is the second Royals player to claim the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award from Major League Baseball, joining former teammate Mike Moustakas in 2017. Pitcher Bret Saberhagen also earned Comeback Player of the Year honors from the Sporting News and United Press International (UPI), in 1987.