You could say Salvador Perez will serve a full term as the American League’s Gold Glove Award winner at catcher.
Perez, the Royals’ stalwart behind the plate, bested finalists Detroit’s James McCann and Los Angeles’ Carlos Perez in the voting, becoming the first American League catcher to win four straight Gold Gloves since Ivan Rodriguez, who won 10 straight from 1992 to 2001.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and left fielder Alex Gordon were also finalists for Gold Gloves at their respective positions. Each came home empty-handed. Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland beat out Hosmer, who had won three straight Gold Gloves. New York’s Brett Gardner won the award in left field, preventing Gordon from winning his fifth Gold Glove.
The awards were revealed in a televised broadcast Tuesday night.
For Perez, the award was expected. He led all American League catchers with 15.5 Defensive Runs Above Average, according to FanGraphs.com. He also led the league with 11 Defensive Runs Saved, according to Baseball Info Solutions.
He was credited with throwing out 30 would-be base-stealers and had the second-best caught-stealing percentage (42.9) in the American League. Still just 26 years old, his arm has become one of the most feared in baseball.
“A lot of guys have strong arms or quick releases,” Royals backup catcher Drew Butera said earlier this year. “He just kind of has the total package, along with deadly accuracy.”
Perez is the third Royals player to win Gold Gloves in four straight seasons, joining Alex Gordon (2011-14) and Frank White (1977-82). He also kept alive a streak of six straight seasons with at least one Gold Glove won by a member of the Royals.
“He’s a better thrower right now than he was last year,” Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol said earlier this year. “You look at video, and you go back two years ago, he’d throw a 1.75 (pop time to second base). But it wasn’t every time. He’s doing it now, consistently. He’s really caught on to his mechanics.”