MLB Awards 2010: B/R Columnists' Picks for AL Silver Sluggers
Every year, managers, coaches and writers from around Major League Baseball award honors and trophies to the players. And every year, they screw up.
This week, Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists kicked off our preemptive response to the BBWAA's ineptitude: a 16-part series in which 33 writers weighed in on who should win the game's top honors, starting with the AL Gold Gloves on Monday and the NL Gold Gloves on Tuesday.
Today, we turn our attention to the AL Silver Sluggers—the best hitters at each position in the Junior Circuit.
So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong.
Catcher: Joe Mauer
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
1. Joe Mauer, Twins—28
2. Victor Martinez, Red Sox—2
3. John Buck, Blue Jays—1
Featured writer: Jess Coleman
A three-time Silver Slugger already, the 27-year-old catcher has put on another worthy season, hitting .327 and recording 167 hits in just 137 games.
Although his power numbers were down, Mauer put on an offensive show, racking up 53 extra base hits and 75 RBI. He led all Major League catchers in batting average by a healthy margin, along with runs scored, hits, runs scored and doubles. He also led all American League catchers with a WAR of 5.1.
First Base: Miguel Cabrera
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers—25
2. Mark Teixeira, Yankees—3
3. Paul Konerko, White Sox—2
4. Justin Morneau, Twins—1
Featured writer: Zachary Ball
For the second consecutive season, and the fifth time in the past six years, Cabrera hit better than .300. His .328 average was the third best in all of baseball.
He also eclipsed 33 home runs for the sixth time in seven years and his 38 dingers placed him tied for fourth in both leagues. His 126 RBI led the majors, and it marked the seventh consecutive season he’s driven in more than 100. Cabrera also finished in the top 10 in doubles, walks, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS.
Second Base: Robinson Cano
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
1. Robinson Cano, Yankees—31
Featured writer: Doug Mead
There is no question that Robinson Cano is the American League’s Silver Slugger award winner for second basemen for 2010.
He had 200 hits for his second consecutive season, along with 29 HR, 109 RBI and a .319 average. His home run and RBI totals were both career highs.
Cano once again displayed his durability, appearing in 160 games this season. His offense alone helped propel the New York Yankees to yet another postseason, and Cano will be in the hunt for MVP honors as well.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
1. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox—23
2. Evan Longoria, Rays—5
3. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees—1
Featured writer: Bob Warja
If you look at all the relevant offensive stats, you see that Beltre is the best third baseman in the AL this year. Only Jose Bautista has a higher wOBA and he played more in the outfield. Of the true third sackers on the list, Beltre had the highest slugging percentage and the second-best OBP. While his BABIP was high, Evan Longoria’s was even higher, suggesting he had better luck than Beltre.
Even using the “normal” counting stats, Beltre had, by far, the highest batting average of the group at .321 and his WAR led all third basemen at 7.1.
Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox—24
2. Marco Scutaro, Red Sox—3
3. Derek Jeter, Yankees—2
4. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays—1
Featured writer: Evan Bruschini
As far as Silver Sluggers go, there may be no more obvious candidate than White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. He leads all AL shortstops in batting, slugging, OPS and homers, as well as ranking in the top four in hits, runs, RBI and doubles. He’s also fifth in steals.
No other shortstop really comes close. Derek Jeter’s a perennial favorite, but he had a down year, batting .270 with 10 homers, along with a career low OPS+. If the voters get this one right, Ramirez should walk away untouched.
Outfielder No. 1: Josh Hamilton
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1. Josh Hamilton, Rangers—31
2. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays—24
3. Carl Crawford, Rays—11
4. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians—8
5. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays—5
T6. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners—3
T6. Delmon Young, Twins—3
8. Nelson Cruz, Rangers—2
T9. Austin Jackson, Tigers—1
T9. Nick Swisher, Yankees—1
Featured writer: Jordan Schwartz
The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton led all of baseball this season with a .359 batting average, and he is my pick to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award, so it stands to reason that he will also grab AL Silver Slugger honors among outfielders.
Hamilton led AL outfielders in hitting, on-base percentage (.411), slugging (.633) and OPS (1.044). He was second in homers (32), third in hits (186) and RBIs (100), fifth in doubles (40) and sixth in runs scored (95). And he put up all those numbers while missing most of September with injury.
Outfielder No. 2: Jose Bautista
Brad White/Getty Images
Featured writer: Thomas Pinzone
Week after week, month after month, the homers continued to fly off Jose Bautista's bat. When all was said and done, he wound up leading all of baseball with 54 long balls.
Bautista also added 35 doubles, three triples and led the league in isolated power with a staggering .357 mark. He also drew a walk in 14.6 percent of his at-bats, good enough for third best in the AL. His .422 wOBA also stood third in the AL.
No. 3: Carl Crawford
J. Meric/Getty Images
Featured writer: Brandon Williams
Crawford batted .307 and had career-bests with 19 homers, 110 runs scored and 90 RBI while putting together a 6.9 WAR that will put him deep into the conversation of AL Most Valuable Player.
Few, if any, players in the game can offer the breathtaking array of offensive firepower that Crawford will bring to the free agent table. His ability to change a contest with his bat or legs makes him the rare player who can beat out a bunt down the line, turn a shot in the gap into a triple or hammer a 420-foot homer.
Designated Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Al Bello/Getty Images
1. Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers—15
2. David Ortiz, Red Sox—10
3. Jim Thome, Twins—4
4. Luke Scott, Orioles—3
Featured writer: Johnathan Kroncke
Vladimir Guerrero returned to his Big Daddy form deep in the heart of Texas in 2010.
After a sluggish swan song with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the nine-time All-Star lead the notoriously powerful Rangers in RBI (115), and finished second in home runs (29), slugging (.496) and average (.300).
In fact, his numbers this season closely mirrored those with the 2006 Angels, when he finished ninth in MVP voting and earned both All-Star and Silver Slugger honors.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
|AL Gold Gloves||October 25|
|NL Gold Gloves||October 26|
|AL Silver Sluggers||October 27|
|NL Silver Sluggers||October 28|
|AL Comeback Player of the Year||November 1|
|NL Comeback Player of the Year||November 2|
|AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 3|
|NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 4|
|AL Rookie of the Year||November 8|
|NL Rookie of the Year||November 9|
|AL Manager of the Year||November 10|
|NL Manager of the Year||November 11|
|AL Cy Young||November 15|
|NL Cy Young||November 16|
|AL Most Valuable Player||November 17|
|NL Most Valuable Player||November 18