Salvador Perez was as announced as the Kansas City Royals’ sole All-Star Game representative during the Sunday evening ESPN MLB All-Star Selection show. It is Perez’s sixth consecutive appearance in the summer classic.
Perez has a sterling reputation and has a trophy case filled to the brim with hardware. In addition to Perez’s six All-Star selections, the Venezuelan catcher has four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger award, and a World Series MVP.
But this is easily the most puzzling of Perez’s accomplishments. Perez is in the midst of a career worst season; his triple slash of .213/.255/.376 is good for a wRC+ of 68, meaning that his hitting is 32% below league average. Among 23 American League catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, that ranks 18th.
The Kansas City Royals are an awful team, and if Major League Baseball did not dictate that each team have at least one representative at the All-Star game it is entirely possible that the Royals would not have an All-Star rep. Still, Perez’s reputation among the league’s players and coaches was enough to send him to the All-Star Game.
With Perez’s selection, Whit Merrifield was the snub. While no part of his game is particularly elite, Merrifield combines good hitting, good fielding at multiple positions, and excellent baserunning to rack up value. Merrifield has played at least 30 career innings in his big league career at every defensive position except shortstop and catcher and is most adept at second base, left field, and center field. However, Merrifield’s versatility and excellence did not even net him a spot on the final vote.
At least Perez isn’t Mark Redman or anything.