Salvador Perez named All-MLB First team catcher

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(Associated Press) - Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez has been named the All-MLB First Team catcher as Major League Baseball unveiled selections for the second annual All-MLB Team, presented by CohnReznik, on MLB Network.

Perez was selected the First Team catcher over two other finalists, Atlanta’s Travis d’Arnaud and Philadelphia’s J.T. Realmuto. Perez earned his third Louisville Silver Slugger Award earlier this offseason and is also a six-time All-Star and a five-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner. In 2020, he set career highs in batting average (.333) and slugging percentage (.633) and despite playing in just 37 of 60 games, led the Royals in homers (11) and go-ahead RBI (8), while ranking second in RBI (32) and extra-base hits (23).

The rest of the first team featured Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, and outfielders Mookie Betts from the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals. The relievers were Tampa Bay’s Nick Anderson and Oakland’s Liam Hendriks.

AL MVP José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox was the first baseman on the second team, which also included Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Indians third baseman José Ramírez. Acuña was joined in the outfield by Michael Conforto of the Mets and Mike Yastrzemski of the San Francisco Giants. The designated hitter was 40-year-old Minnesota veteran Nelson Cruz.

The starting pitchers were Gerrit Cole of the Yankees, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Dinelson Lamet of the Padres, Kenta Maeda of the Twins and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cleveland closer Brad Hand and NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams from Milwaukee were the relievers.

Votes for the second annual All-MLB teams were cast by fans, media members, broadcasters, former players and other Major League Baseball officials.

Betts received the most votes from fans. Trout, DeGrom and LeMahieu were the only players elected to the first team each of the past two years.