Major League Baseball handed out the 2016 Silver Slugger Awards to the best offensive player at each position on Thursday. The winners included Mike Trout in the American League and Corey Seager in the National League.
|2016 MLB Silver Slugger Award Winners|
|American League||Position||National League|
|Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals||C||Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals|
|Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers||1B||Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs|
|Jose Altuve, Houston Astros||2B||Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals|
|Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox||SS||Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays||3B||Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies|
|Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles||OF||Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets|
|Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels||OF||Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies|
|Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox||OF||Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins|
|David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox||DH/P||Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs|
The winners today didn't provide much clarity for what to expect when the BBWAA announces the Most Valuable Player in each league next week.
Trout, Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve, who are the three AL MVP finalists, all took home hardware on Thursday. This marks the fifth consecutive Silver Slugger for Trout, who continues to add trophies to his mounting collection.
The list of superlatives to describe Trout ran out long ago, yet the 25-year-old seems to get better with each passing season. This was his first season leading the league in on-base percentage (.441), and he set a career high with 116 walks, to go along with a .550 slugging percentage.
Per MLB Stat of the Day, Trout did something in 2016 that hasn't been done in 22 years:
Devan Fink of Cover Those Bases did his best to put Trout's laundry list of accomplishments into one digestible tweet:
Altuve has won three consecutive Silver Slugger awards. Houston's diminutive superstar set a new offensive benchmark for himself in 2016, leading the AL with a .338 batting average and setting career highs in on-base percentage (.396), slugging percentage (.531) and home runs (24).
This award caps off a tremendous 24 hours for Altuve, who was honored by his peers on Wednesday night:
Betts and his fellow Boston Red Sox teammates Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz also earned a Silver Slugger. It's fitting that trio of players was honored, since Ortiz was the face of Boston's baseball past, while Betts and Bogaerts will carry the mantle into the future.
Ortiz capped off his tremendous farewell season with his seventh career Silver Slugger award. Here's why Big Papi is adding another silver bat to his collection, per MLB Stat of the Day:
The AL catching result was somewhat surprising. Salvador Perez did have the luxury of playing a full season for the Kansas City Royals and hit 22 home runs. His win is hardly egregious, though in terms of offensive performance, he didn't come close to another candidate.
New York Yankees rookie Gary Sanchez took the MLB world by storm with 20 homers and a 1.032 OPS after being called up on Aug. 3. He only played in 53 games, compared to 139 for Perez, so that could have been a key deciding factor.
Unlike in the AL, only two of the three National League MVP finalists took home trophies on Thursday. Seager and Daniel Murphy had stellar performances in 2016 that warranted winning the award.
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant missed out on the honor at third base, with Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado taking home his second straight trophy.
The Rockies tweeted out the stats that highlight why Arenado earned the honor:
Seager entered the 2016 season with a mountain of hype. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in MLB by Baseball America and plays one of the most difficult defensive positions on the diamond.
The 22-year-old Seager more than lived up to that billing with a .308/.365/.512 slash line and 26 home runs.
Murphy found a swing that worked during the 2015 postseason as a member of the New York Mets when he hit seven home runs in the team's first nine games. He carried that performance over to the Nationals in 2016 with a .347/.390/.595 slash line.
After Murphy was named NL Outstanding Player of the Year at the Players Choice Awards on Wednesday, he summed up how he wants his game to be remembered, per MLB Network PR:
For at least one year, Murphy can say without qualification that he played well and hard.
From one former Met to possibly another, Yoenis Cespedes earned his first Silver Slugger after a stellar 2016. He was incredible after a midseason trade last year, helping propel the team into the World Series, and carried that over into the 2016 season.
Cespedes had a .280/.354/.530 slash line with 31 home runs in 132 games. Per ESPN Stats & Info, he is the first Mets player to win this award in eight years:
Cespedes is looking to cash in on his tremendous season as a free agent. He couldn't have picked a more opportune time to test the market as arguably the best position player available in a weak free-agent year.
In a season when offense made a comeback across MLB, the 2016 Silver Slugger winners reflect how strong the game of baseball is now and into the future. Veterans like Cespedes, Trout and Cabrera have been joined by young stars like Seager, Betts and Christian Yelich.
The amount of talent spread throughout Major League Baseball is incredible. The crop of talent awarded on Thursday is a reflection of the amazing stars who will continue to be the face of the sport for many years to come.