Major League Baseball's award season kicked off Thursday with the announcement of the Silver Slugger winners in the American and National Leagues.
The awards are voted on by managers and coaches from all 30 teams, with one winner from all five infield positions, three outfielders, a designated hitter and utility player.
New York Yankees star Aaron Judge captured his second straight Silver Slugger award and third overall. He was joined by fellow AL winners Mike Trout (OF), Xander Bogaerts (shortstop) and Yordan Alvarez (DH).
NL MVP finalists and St. Louis Cardinals teammates Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and Nolan Arenado (third base) led the winners for the Senior Circuit.
AL Silver Slugger Winners
C: Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays
1B: Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers
2B: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
3B: José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians
OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
OF: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
OF: Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners
DH: Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
Util: Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins
NL Silver Slugger Winners
C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
2B: Jeff McNeil, New York Mets
SS: Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
OF: Kyle Schwarber, Philadelphia Phillies
OF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
OF: Juan Soto, San Diego Padres
DH: Josh Bell, San Diego Padres
Util: Brandon Drury, San Diego Padres
Results via MLB.com
Judge was the most predictable winner from this year's group of finalists. The Yankees slugger set a new AL record with 62 homers and nearly won the triple crown, leading the league in RBI (131) and finishing second in batting average (.311).
If any other player in the American League had an argument as the best hitter, it was Alvarez. The Houston Astros superstar ranked fourth in the Junior Circuit in batting average (.306), third in homers (36), second in on-base percentage (.406) and slugging percentage (.613).
Even though playoff stats don't count for voting purposes, Alvarez's final image from the 2022 season was hitting the go-ahead homer for the Astros in Game 6 of the World Series.
Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez was arguably the biggest breakout star of the 2022 season. It's fitting he was rewarded along with Judge in the AL outfield and became the second Mariners rookie to win a Silver Slugger award.
One of the few upset winners saw Minnesota Twins All-Star Luis Arraez beat Shohei Ohtani for the AL utility player award. Ohtani was a double-finalist in the utility player and DH category, but he came up empty-handed.
Arraez is hardly a bad choice. He won the AL batting title with a .316 average in a career-high 144 games.
Aaron Gleeman @AaronGleeman
Luis Arraez wins the AL Silver Slugger award at the "utility player" position, to go with his first batting title and first All-Star appearance.<br><br>Arraez hit .316/.375/.420 with more walks (50) than strikeouts (43) in 144 games for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MNTwins?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MNTwins</a>, posting a career-high 130 OPS+.
Even though Ohtani wasn't as dominant at the plate as he was in 2021, he still finished with an .875 OPS with 34 homers in 157 games this season.
Trout earned his ninth Silver Slugger award, despite missing 43 games due to injuries. The three-time AL MVP finished with 40 homers and a .630 slugging percentage, both his best single-season totals since 2019.
The NL champion Phillies had two winners. J.T. Realmuto won for the first time since 2019. He remains the gold standard for hitting catchers. The 31-year-old was the only qualified catcher in either league with an offensive value of at least 20.0, per FanGraphs.com.
Kyle Schwarber didn't offer much in the way of average (.218), but he led the NL with 46 homers and drove in a team-high 94 runs.
Goldschmidt's latest Silver Slugger award also made history:
In a surprise result, the San Diego Padres led all teams with three Silver Slugger winners. All three of their winners—Juan Soto, Brandon Drury and Josh Bell—weren't on the roster until Aug. 2 when they were acquired in trades.
Soto's win feels the most like it was based on past reputation than actual performance. The 24-year-old had a solid 2022, but he set or tied career lows in average (.242), on-base percentage (.401) and slugging percentage (.452).
Drury struggled after the trade, but he hit very well in the first half with the Cincinnati Reds to finish with an .813 OPS and 28 homers in 138 games. He hit more home runs in 2022 than in the previous four seasons combined (20).