There was a baseball game today and we’ll get to that. But I just want to use this opportunity to speak on the unbelievable story of Salvador Perez.
Many of us remember his debut. We remember some of the hype. And the scouting reports that came with his time as a prospect. I don’t have a ton of those reports in front of me, but the general consensus was that he could be a great defender but that there wasn’t a lot of good projection at the plate.
Baseball America’s 2010 report on the Royals top-30 prospects stated that his lack of offensive projection “may just make him a solid backup at the big league level.” Another 2008 report said that his contact-centric approach might lead to high averages but “not a whole lot of power.” It also projected him as a backup.
This isn’t to rub their noses in it. Not at all. Because we would all be lying if we said we saw this coming. Maybe the most generous scout would give him a 55+ grade power. I found at least one that did. That churns out to ~19-22 homers per season.
Well, Sal is on his third-straight season with at least 27 homers, and that doesn’t include the pace he had in 2020. But with Salvy’s 45th homer, he cemented himself in some sacred territory: 80-grade power. I know, that’s not exactly how the scale works, but Fangraphs puts 40+ homers as 80-grade power with Baseball America upping that to 45.
Nobody could have expected this. Nobody could have possibly expected that Salvy would tie (and hopefully, eventually break) the all-time single-season home run record for a catcher. But that’s exactly what he did today.
It was all the offense the Royals could muster in a 7-2 loss to the Athletics, but it was a historical day in Kansas City.
Onto the game. Salvy’s record-tying homer came after Nicky Lopez’s first walk of the afternoon, a moonshot to left-centerfield to put the Royals up 2-0.
Royals starter Daniel Lynch responded with a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd before running into trouble in the 3rd. A leadoff walk followed by a hit-by-pitch allowed Josh Harrison to single in a run, cutting the lead in half at 2-1. A fielder's choice from Starling Marte would load the bases, but more importantly, Lynch came up limp after and was removed from the game. It is being reported as left calf tightness.
Joel Payamps replaced him and got a huge double play on a Matt Olson lineout. He appeared to be out of the inning, but a bizarre error kept the inning alive and drove in the tying run. Jed Lowrie grounded the ball to first, where Ryan O’Hearn booted it. However, it bounced straight to Whit Merrifield and O’Hearn was able to get back to the bag, but for some reason,add Whit didn’t go for the out at first.
The error was charged to O’Hearn, but was just as much on Merrifield, and it allowed Chad Pinder to single to left and drive in two more runs, giving the A’s a 4-2 lead.
That would turn out to be all the scoring they needed, although Oakland would add more. The Royals had plenty of chances throughout the game, leaving 18 runners on base. The last rallied in the 8th, putting runners at 2nd and 3rd for pinch hitter Edward Olivares, but he struck out swinging at ball four to end the inning.
Oakland broke the game open in the 9th thanks to an unbelievably wild Jake Brentz. Before being removed from the game after recording zero outs, Brentz hit and walked a batter, as well as throwing three wild pitches. A Harrison double chased Brentz and gave the A’s a 6-2 lead.
His replacement Tyler Zuber promptly moved Harrison to third on a while pitch of his own before a fielder’s choice made it 7-2. The Royals went quietly in the 9th to end the game with Salvy waiting on deck. He’ll have to wait until at least tomorrow to become the all-time single-season home run king for catchers.
The loss puts Kansas City’s record at 66-80
Up Next: Royals v. Mariners, Friday, September 17, 7:10 PM CDT, Kauffman Stadium. RHP Chris Flexen (11-6, 3.73 ERA) v. Brady Singer (4-1, 4.85 ERA)