KANSAS CITY, MO (KSNW) – The Kansas City Royals announced their 2020 team award winners today, which were voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the BBWAA. Catcher Salvador Perez was named the Les Milgram Player of the Year, right-hander Brad Keller earned the Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year, while outfielder Alex Gordon received the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award.
Perez, 30, who was also named MLB Comeback Player of the Year, a Louisville Silver Slugger and a first-team All-MLB selection this offseason, returned to the club after missing the entire 2019 campaign. He hit a career-best .333 with 11 homers and 32 RBI over 37 games. The six-time All-Star catcher added 12 doubles, 22 runs scored, 17 walks and one stolen base, while recording a .353 on-base percentage and a career-high .633 slugging percentage, which was the second highest in franchise history behind only Hall of Famer George Brett, who amassed a .664 mark during his AL MVP Award-winning season in 1980. The 11 home runs hit by Perez led the team and were tied for third-most by a player who played 37 games-or-fewer, trailing only Hall of Famers Frank Thomas (12 in 34 games) in 2005 and Ted Williams (13 in 37 games) in 1953. Additionally, the Valencia, Venezuela native paced the Royals with eight go-ahead RBI and finished second on the team in RBI and extra-base hits (23). This marks Perez’s first Player of the Year award.
Keller, 25, led the Royals with five wins in his nine starts, despite missing the club’s first 13 games of the season on the Injured List. He went 5-3 with a 2.47 ERA (15 ER in 54.2 IP) overall, which included going 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA (1 ER in 33.0 IP) at Kauffman Stadium, posting the best single-season home ERA since 1920 (min. 5 starts). His overall ERA ranked fifth in the American League and was the lowest by a Royals starter since Zack Greinke’s 2.16 mark during his 2009 Cy Young Award-winning season (min. 9 starts). Keller went 3-0 through his first three starts of the season, allowing no runs in his first 17.2 innings, joining Greinke as the only Royals to win their first three starts of a season and not allow a run, while he is one of six pitchers in the Majors to accomplish that feat since the mound was lowered in 1969. He recorded his first career shutout in Kansas City’s 11-0 win vs. Pittsburgh on Sept. 13, allowing five hits and a walk with two strikeouts, which was the team’s only individual shutout in 2020. This marks Keller’s second Pitcher of the Year award, also receiving the honor in 2018.
Gordon, who retired at the end of the 2020 season, earned his second Rawlings Platinum Glove and his eighth Rawlings Gold Glove, to match Frank White for the most in franchise history. According to Sportradar, he became the third position player to win a Gold Glove in his final Major League season, joining Roberto Clemente and Wes Parker (both in 1972). He finished his 14th season ranking in the franchise’s top 10 in nearly all offensive categories, including first in hit-by-pitches (121), third in walks (682), fourth in home runs (190) and fifth in doubles (357) and extra-base hits (573). His 121 HBP are 43 more than the next-closest Royal (Mike Macfarlane, 78) and were fourth-most among Major Leaguers active in 2020. He recorded four of Kansas City’s six outfield assists last season, giving him 102 for his career, which rank second in franchise history to only Amos Otis (116) and were the most in the Majors between 2010-20. This marks Gordon’s first Special Achievement award, while he was named the team’s Player of the Year in 2011.