Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Jason Vargas will travel to Miami Tuesday to represent the Royals at this year’s MLB All-Star Game.
Perez was voted as the American League’s starting catcher, Vargas was selected as one of the pitchers and Moustakas won the fan final vote, the same way he made his first All-Star appearance in 2015.
Having been named MVP of the 2015 World Series and now making his fifth consecutive All-Star game appearance, Perez has been a household name for Royals fans over the years. This season, however, he has really cemented his status as a premier catcher. Not only have his elite defensive abilities helped his team considerably, but his bat has also been a huge reason for the Royals’ turnaround as of late. Entering the All-Star break, Perez is hitting .290 with 18 home runs and 57 runs batted in. He leads all catchers in home runs and RBIs, and he sits third in batting average. Although Perez has been consistently great the last few seasons for Kansas City, 2017 has been a breakout year for him.
It’s safe to say nobody predicted Vargas would be making his first All-Star game this season. Going into the year, the expectation was that Danny Duffy would be the ace of the team. While Duffy hasn’t had a bad year, Vargas has cemented himself as the ace of the Royals’ pitching staff. He may not strike out a lot of batters (6.6 K/9), but Vargas produces weak contact from opposing hitters. Consistently changing speeds and keeping the ball down in the zone has helped Vargas amass a 12-3 record and a 2.62 ERA; his ERA is a career low and he’s already surpassed his previous career high in wins this season.
If it weren’t for Chris Sale, perhaps Vargas would have been the first Royals pitcher to get the starting nod at an All-Star game since Bret Saberhagen in 1987. Vargas could also win the Cy Young Award for the American League come November if he continues pitching on this remarkable pace.
Moustakas will be on the roster for the American League for the second time in his career Tuesday, and he will be participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday as well. It’s pretty easy to see why “Moose” is a Home Run Derby contestant; he’s already bested his career high in home runs with 25 this season. He’s also been big in clutch situations, driving in 54 runs before the break. His batting average of .270 isn’t too shabby, either.
After Perez, Moustakas and Vargas represent the Royals in Miami, they will return to Kansas City to play the Texas Rangers on Friday.
The Home Run Derby starts Monday, July 10 at 7 p.m. CT and will be aired on ESPN. The All-Star game starts on Tuesday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on FOX.
Edited by Joe Noser | firstname.lastname@example.org