Mike Trout, Mookie Betts Headline 2020 MLB Silver Slugger Award Winners

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2020

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) in the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Denver.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Major League Baseball celebrated its top offensive players from this past season, handing out Silver Sluggers for each position.

For the first time in history, the National League had a designated hitter among its Silver Slugger winners. MLB adopted a universal DH for 2020 because of the condensed schedule.

Here's a look at this year's honorees.

         

American League Silver Sluggers

Catcher: Salvador Perez (KC)

First Base: Jose Abreu (CWS)

Second Base: DJ LeMahieu (NYY)

Third Base: Jose Ramirez (CLE)

Shortstop: Tim Anderson (CWS)

Outfield: Mike Trout (LAA), Teoscar Hernandez (TOR), Eloy Jimenez (CWS)

Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz (MIN)

          

National League Silver Sluggers

Catcher: Travis d'Arnaud (ATL)

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

First Base: Freddie Freeman (ATL)

Second Base: Donovan Solano (SF)

Third Base: Manny Machado (SD)

Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD)

Outfield: Juan Soto (WSH), Mookie Betts (LAD), Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) 

Designated Hitter: Marcell Ozuna (ATL)

As much as the managers and coaches who voted might have attempted to remove emotion from the process, determining the most deserving candidates for individual awards is always a subjective exercise. Sifting though the Silver Slugger contenders was even tougher in 2020 thanks to the 60-game schedule necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Players had less time to pad their counting stats and thus distance themselves from the competition.

Jose Ramirez and Freddie Freeman compiled the most WAR (3.4) among position players, according to FanGraphs. Michael Conforto and Nelson Cruz were tied for 20th at 2.0. The gap between first-place Mike Trout (8.6) and 20th-place Josh Donaldson (4.9) in 2019 was more than double that. 

Using more traditional measures wasn't totally helpful, either, since 36 players were within 10 home runs of MLB leader Luke Voit (22). Only five players met that qualification last season.

Still, a few players stood out and made themselves clear Silver Slugger favorites.

For years, Francisco Lindor has been the face of the Cleveland Indians. Ramirez far outpaced his infield counterpart, posting a .292/.386/.607 slash line in 58 games. The Indians third baseman also had 17 homers, nearly twice as many as the next closest Cleveland player (Franmil Reyes, nine).

Freeman was the biggest lock in the National League. The Atlanta Braves first baseman finished second among qualified batters in weighted on-base average (.456) and weighted runs created plus (187), per FanGraphs.

This is his second Silver Slugger in as many years.