2013 NL Silver Slugger Award Winners
Now that the season is officially over and there are no more games to be played, it’s time for Baseball to roll out their yearly awards. First, why baseball takes so long after the season to announce the winners of their most coveted awards is beyond me. But nevertheless, with each day that goes by a new winner of a major award is announced. Today, we are examining the 2013 NL Silver Slugger award winners.
For a little background, the Silver Slugger award is given to the best offensive player at each position, as determined by the coaches and managers in Major League Baseball. They consider many offensive categories: batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and of course the seeing-eye test that is first-hand, game action accounts with the players. Some of the players who win are no-brainer, repeat selections, who year after year continue to mash and put up phenomenal offensive numbers. Others are first-time winners who burst onto the baseball scene and blow managers and coaches away with their impressive hitting. And then, much like the Golden Glove award winners, there are those who may not have had the best offensive season at their respective position, but still win base on reputation alone. For the most part, I think the managers and coaches got the 2013 NL Silver Slugger award winners right. Let’s break it down position-by-position.
Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers – May have been the best hitting pitcher in the NL, let alone all of baseball. Pretty hard to argue with a pitcher who bats with a triple slash of .328/.409/.379. Well deserved.
Catcher: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals – This one was a tight one, as you could make good argument for other NL catchers such as the San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey or even Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Molina did lead all catchers in AVG (.319) and SLG (.477), in addition to leading his team to the World Series.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks – Goldschmidt arguably had an MVP caliber season for Diamondbacks. He led all first basemen in HR’s and RBI’s while still batting .302/.401/.551. No complaints here.
Second Base: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals – Remember at the top when I mentioned first-time players who burst onto the scene, that was Carpenter this season. In his first season as a full-time starting second baseman, Carpenter had an MVP type caliber year offensively for the Card, leading all second basemen in AVG, OBP, and SLG (.318, .392, .481).
Third Base: Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates – So the guy may only hit with a sub-.240 AVG (.233) and have a sub-.300 OBP (.296), but it’s hard to ignore 36 HR’s and 100 RBI’s, which is well-above the next guy on the list in those categories (HR – 26 by Ryan Zimmerman, RBI – 82 by Martin Prado).
Shortstop: Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals– This award should have gone to Colorado Rockies slugging shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, but I’m guessing the voters over-looked him based on being injured and not having enough at-bats to qualify (not sure if that’s truly the case, just speculating). Tulo led all NL shortstops in AVG, OBP, SLG, HR, and RBI. Desmond finished a respectable third in AVG (.280), second in OPB (.331), second in SLG (.453), tied for second in HR (20), and second in RBI (80).
Outfield: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates; Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds; Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies – McCutchen is locked in a tight race with Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw for the NL MVP, so for him to not win the Silver Slugger would have been a crime. McCutchen is an awesome season, batting .317, .404, .508 while hitting 21 HR’s and 84 RBI’s, and leading the Pirates to their first postseason appearance in nearly 20 years. Bruce led all outfielders in HR’s (30) and RBI’s (109), which clearly makes him a prime candidate. Cuddyer was a sneaky one for me. At first glance, I thought it was a glaring mistake, but when you look deeper into it, Cuddyer led all outfielders in AVG (.331), fourth in OBP (.389), and second in SLG (.530), while still hitting a respectable 20 HR’s and 84 RBI’s. Can’t really argue against those numbers.