Was there any doubt that catcher Salvador Perez would win this award?
The Kansas City Royals on Monday announced their team award-winners, and Perez won his second straight Les Milgram Player of the Year Award.
Perez, who tied for the major-league lead with 48 home runs (tying the Royals’ single-season record) is the first player to win consecutive Les Milgram Player of the Year Awards since Eric Hosmer (2016-17), the Royals said. He is the fifth player to win the award in two straight years.
“I’m definitely honored,” Lopez said in a conference call with reporters. “This is super cool.”
Lopez was optioned to Triple-A Omaha near the end of spring training but started the season with the Royals after Adalberto Mondesi was injured. Lopez, who played second base in 2020, batted .300 with 78 runs scored and 22 stolen bases.
He was the first shortstop in Royals history to bat .300 or better.
“Getting a hit in the big leagues is hard enough, right?” Lopez said. “And to be able to bat .300, to be the first Royals shortstop to hit .300 in the team’s history, is something very, very special, only because that was one of the main reasons why I got sent down, because of my hitting.
“So to be able to kind of show them that, hey, I could do this, it’s in there and I just have to go out and show it was was something very special to me.”
Barlow was first among Royals relief pitchers in saves (16), ERA (2.42), strikeouts (91) and strikeouts per nine innings (11.0).
“Getting this award feels like a huge honor,” Barlow said. “Looking at the past offseason, (I) put a lot of hard work into into that and to see that kind of pay off for the season that I had this year definitely feels really good. Makes me want to work even harder this offseason. Hopefully do it again. But just kind of enjoying the moment now and just super grateful to be honored with the award.”
Perez, who was not part of Monday’s conference call, also won a Silver Slugger award as the American League’s top-hitting catcher this offseason and the Luis Aparicio Award as the top Venezuelan player in Major League Baseball.
Last week, Perez was named the catcher of the all-MLB First Team. MLB.com said the team was determined in two ways: Half of the vote came from fans and half ”from a panel of experts.”
Perez was also a Gold Glove finalist. He led the league with 121 RBIs, was an All-Star and participated in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.
Members of the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted on the awards handed out Monday.