Why The AL Silver Slugger Awards Got One Wrong

by Paul Jack | Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
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Silver Slugger

Ok ladies and gentlemen, time to talk about what we all like about baseball.  MASHERS!!  We don’t care about walks, we don’t care about stolen bases, we want to see a large man with a bat knock one out of the park!

The 2013 American League silver slugger awards have been announced so let’s take a look at the winners and also if there were any robberies of justice.

First base is kind of a gimme.  In 2012 Chris Davis hit a career high 33 homers with 85 rbi.  In 2013 he led the MLB with 53 homers and 138 rbi’s.  The next closest 1st baseman would be either Edwin Encarnacion or Prince Fielder.

Trivia question, which player has the longest Silver Slugger streak in the majors?  Ryan Braun had 5 in a row until this year, the new leader with 4 straight is Robinson Cano.  Looking to hit the jackpot in his walk year, Cano continued his success with dominating numbers amongst second baseman. Cano hit  27 homers, 107 rbi’s, and a .314 avg, it wasn’t even close!  2nd place you are looking at Jason Kipnis, Brian Dozier or Ian Kinsler, none who even sniffed Cano’s numbers.

Third base – Miguel Cabrera, enough said.

SS has been a revolving door for 3 years.  Alexei Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Derek Jeter, then this year a first time winner, J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles.  Hardy hit 25 homers, 76 rbi’s to take the award in the AL.  Jed Lowrie was only 1 rbi behind him but trailed him by 10 homers.

Outfield is where is gets a bit fuzzy, the 3 winners were Mike Trout, Adam Jones and Torii Hunter.  Jones and Trout were 1,2 in rbi, also Jones led all OF with 33 homers, Trout was tied for 4th with 27 plus has huge name recognition for being Mike Trout.  Hunter is an interesting choice, he was 3rd in rbi behind Jones and Trout but his 17 homers were tied for 13th.  Hunter had a solid .304 avg but this is about power.  In this case I think the better choice is Jose Bautista of Toronto.  Bautista had 11 more homers, 11 less rbi but a much higher obp which helps your team more on offense.  Runs batted in are more of a statistic of things beyond your control (like wins for a pitcher) so in this case I think you can make a good argument for Bautista.

Catcher is where grand larceny occurs.  This is criminal right here.  Joe Mauer is a great player but he led all catchers in exactly 0 power categories.  Let’s take a peek at his rankings among AL catchers is a bunch of offensive categories.

Hits – 3rd

Runs – 4th

Doubles – 4th

Homers – Tied for 9th

RBI – Tied for 9th

Avg – 1st

OBP – 1st

So in the OF category the guy who had a better OBP didn’t win, the guy with the most RBI won.  But in this case I see why the top 2 catchers in HR didn’t win, their averages were horrendous at .235 and .194.  But you can make a case for Carlos Santana, Jason Castro, A.J. Pierzynski, even Salvador Perez!  I guess they wanted a sexy name but that makes no sense.  J.J. Hardy doesn’t have star power but he won the award.  Not sure the reasoning behind this award, but congrats to Joe.

DH – Another revolving door for 5 years saw the award go to Aubrey Huff, Adam Lind, Vladimir Guerrero, David Ortiz and Billy Butler.  Ortiz however was able to notch his 6th award with 30 homers, 10 rbi and an avg of .309.

Baseball can’t start back up soon enough!

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Paul Jack
About the Author

Paul Jack is an extreme baseball enthusiast, you can follow and interact with him on Twitter @PaulJackSports

  • Alan Anthony

    There are at least two glaring contridictions in your post. The first is about the nature of the award. Even though the word “Slugger” is baseball slang for a power hitter, the Sliver Slugger is the award for the best offensive player at each position, not necessarily the best power hitter. The term “Slugger” comes from the Louisville Slugger, the famous bat manufactured by Hillerich & Bradsby, the company who sponsors the award.

    The second contradiction is far more glaring. You state in your opening “We don’t care about walks …” but then go on to use OBP as part of your argument for why Jose Bautista would have been a better choice than Torii Hunter. If you explicitly state that you don’t care about walks, you can’t you a statistic that use walks as its primary component to support your argument. As the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  • Paul Jack

    Well yeah I was trying to be funny :-). I think the overall hitting numbers should count. Mauer was a strange choice, Hunter was borderline.

    Alan you should join the team 🙂

    • Alan Anthony

      Sounds intriguing. What would I do? (Warning: I’m a Tigers fan)

      Feel free to send an e-mail to me.

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