MLB Awards 2010: B/R Columnists Pick Joey Votto and the NL Silver Sluggers

Lewie PollisSenior Analyst IIIOctober 28, 2010

MLB Awards 2010: B/R Columnists Pick Joey Votto and the NL Silver Sluggers

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 06: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds bats in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on October 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    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

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 1, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds participates in batting practice before the start of  Game 3 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies  at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    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

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    ATLANTA - JULY 02:  Dan Uggla #6 of the Florida Marlins against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 25:  Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies hits a two run homerun to give the Rockies a 5-4 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning at Coors Field on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    PHOENIX - SEPTEMBER 22:  Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 22, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 16: Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits an RBI single against the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium on September 16, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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

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    ATLANTA - JULY 15:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 15, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  Jayson Werth #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philad
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    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

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    SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 08:  Yovani Gallardo #49 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a three run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the fifth inning during a Major League Baseball game on April 8, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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

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    PHILADELPHIA - MAY 2: The Phillie Phanatic performs during the game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 11-5. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
    Hunter Martin/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