MLB Awards 2010: B/R Columnists Pick Joey Votto and the NL 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 Gold Gloves in the AL on Monday and the NL on Tuesday.
Yesterday, we turned our attention to the AL Silver Sluggers—the best hitters at each position in the Junior Circuit. Today, we round out the first week of results with the NL Silver Sluggers.
So read on, see how we did and be sure to let us know what we got wrong!
Catcher: Brian McCann
1. Brian McCann, Braves—14
2. Buster Posey, Giants—9
3. Geovany Soto, Cubs—3
Featured writer: Ray Tannock
In his short career as a Brave, McCann not only put in another solid year as a consistent source of offensive power, but also put in another wonderful year as a vocal team leader both on offense and defense.
In the majority of the SS awards, statistics are generally looked at first, but another aspect of the award since its inception some 125 years ago is the overall player value—something that tends to get lost in the statistically-dominated era of the game today. For McCann, he deservingly put in another campaign, one that warrants yet another SS award.
First Base: Joey Votto
1. Joey Votto, Reds—14
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals—13
Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
This year, Albert Pujols led all of baseball in homers (42) and paced the NL in RBI (118), and had his average (.312) been 25 points higher, he would have won the Triple Crown. Most years, that would be more enough to carry him to his third consecutive Silver Slugger award.
But this isn’t most years. Reds first baseman Joey Votto trounced “The Machine” in average (.324 to .312), OBP (.424 to .414), slugging (.600 to .596), OPS (1.024 to 1.011) and wOBA (.439 to .420). He wasn’t just the best first baseman in the Senior Circuit—he was the top hitter, period.
Second Base: Dan Uggla
1. Dan Uggla, Marlins—21
2. Rickie Weeks, Brewers—3
3. Chase Utley, Phillies—2
Featured writer: Evan Aczon
Dan Uggla continues to be one of the best-hitting second basemen in the league. Although Brandon Phillips, Rickie Weeks and Kelly Johnson also put up monster numbers, Uggla has been able to consistently produce from a position that is not traditionally one that does so.
Out of those four, Uggla had a higher average (.287), slugging percentage (.508) and OPS (.877) and was only one point below Kelly Johnson’s OBP (.369). He also had more home runs (33) and RBIs (105) and had the third-most extra-base hits (64) of all second-sackers.
Third Base: Ryan Zimmerman
1. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals—16
2. David Wright, Mets—8
3. Casey McGehee, Brewers—2
Featured writer: Jeremiah Graves
Ryan Zimmerman may be the most underappreciated player in the game today. He has been one of the best defensive players in the game his entire career and has put up MVP-caliber numbers two years in a row whilst toiling for some “less than stellar” Washington Nationals teams.
In the National League, Zimmy has no peer at third base on either side of the ball. He is coming off a season in which he belted 25 home runs and 32 doubles, all while hitting .307/.388/.510 in an otherwise largely anemic lineup. Additionally, he posted the highest WAR (7.2) of his career.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies—25
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins—1
Featured writer: Dan Tylicki
Had September not come and gone, perhaps Hanley Ramirez would have won another Silver Slugger title. Instead, Troy Tulowitzki had an incredibly hot September, emerging as easily the best offensive shortstop in baseball this year.
A .315 batting average was a career high for him, and while 27 home runs and 95 RBI haven’t been his best totals, in the year of the pitcher, they are very good numbers. Combine that with an OPS of .949 and you have the clear Silver Slugger winner for shortstop.
Outfielder No. 1: Carlos Gonzalez
1. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies—27
2. Matt Holliday, Cardinals—22
T3. Ryan Braun, Brewers—10
T3. Jayson Werth, Phillies—10
5. Corey Hart, Brewers—5
6. Adam Dunn, Nationals—3
T7. Jay Bruce, Reds—1
T7. Marlon Byrd, Cubs—1
T7. Matt Kemp, Dodgers—1
T7. Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies—1
Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
In a preseason fantasy sleepers article, I declared that Carlos Gonzalez was “going to be a perennial All-Star, starting now.” Turns out I was wrong; he didn’t crack the NL roster for the Midsummer Classic. But he busted out in a big way in 2010.
CarGo paced all NL outfielders in average (.336), homers (34), runs (111), RBI (117), slugging percentage (.598), OPS (.974) and wOBA (.418). According to FanGraphs’ Runs Above Replacement, CarGo’s bat alone was worth 42.1 runs—fourth-best in all of baseball. If that’s not a Silver Slugger, I don’t know what is.
Outfielder No. 2: Matt Holliday
Featured writer: Brandon Williams
In his first full season with the Cardinals, Holliday settled in well, batting .312 with 28 homers, 103 RBI and 95 runs scored.
His efficiency was displayed with a .220 isolated power total, and his 10.2 percent walk rate marked the third straight year he was in double digits, which contributed greatly to his .390 OBP. Oh yeah, he also stole nine bases.
Holliday finished the season with a 6.9 WAR, a solid uptick from his “OK” 5.9 total from 2009, which put his campaign on par with his near-NL MVP numbers from 2007 (7.1).
No. T3: Ryan Braun
Featured writer: Dmitriy Ioselevich
The "Hebrew Hammer" was named a Silver Slugger winner in both 2008 and 2009. Though his power numbers were down this season, he’s still that much better than his competition. Among NL outfielders he’s third in batting average (.304), second in hits (188), second in doubles (45) and fourth in OPS (.866).
Only Carlos Gonzalez and Matt Holliday can make an argument for having a better season. Since we get to give out three of these, Braun still gets one.
No. T3: Jayson Werth
Featured writer: Bob Warja
Werth is deserving of a Silver Slugger award, as only Carlos Gonzalez had a higher wOBA at .397. Werth was patient at the plate once again, with the third best OBP of NL outfielders in 2010.
The three best offensive outfielders in the NL this year were Gonzalez, Matt Holliday and Werth, using a heavy emphasis on plate discipline. After all, even those of you who shun advanced metrics have to understand that the whole point of an offense is to not make an out.
Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo
1. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers—9
T2. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks—3
T2. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs—3
4. Mike Leake, Reds—2
T5. Madison Bumgarner, Giants—1
T5. Livan Hernandez, Nationals—1
T5. Wade LeBlanc, Padres—1
T5. Jonathan Sanchez, Giants—1
T5. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals—1
T5. Randy Wolf, Brewers—1
Featured writer: Matt Trueblood
Dan Haren posed the only real threat to Gallardo for this award, and Haren was traded to the American League midseason. Gallardo belted four home runs (no other hurler had more than one this year), added four doubles and walked five times.
His overall batting line reads .254/.329/.508. For perspective, Lorenzo Cain—who got nearly double Gallardo’s 72 plate appearances as the team’s stretch run center fielder—had an OPS 64 points lower.
Gallardo’s usually an all-or-nothing hitter in the mold of Cubs counterpart Carlos Zambrano, but this year, he was the best all-around offensive pitcher in baseball.
Schedule of Results
|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|