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2012 Silver Slugger Awards

Thursday night was the 32nd annual Silver Slugger Awards, which began in 1980.

The Silver Slugger Award is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball.

These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to “coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. (Managers can not vote for their own players.)

Below is a list of the NL and AL 2012 Silver Slugger Award winners. I’ve included my opinions as well as some facts that I found interesting:

OUTFIELD

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.

NL Winners: Andrew McCutchen (1st S.S. award), Jay Bruce (1st S.S. award) and Ryan Braun (5th S.S. award).

AL Winners: Mike Trout (1st S.S. award), Josh Hamilton (3rd S.S. award) and Josh Willingham (1st S.S. award).

Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Trout and Josh Willingham are all first time recipients of the Silver Slugger award. Putting up impressive stats throughout the 2012 season, they’re all worthy, thus I fully agree with the voters’ picks. I also agree with the selections of Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton for the award, as both had career best years in many categories. This is Braun’s 5th straight Silver Slugger, and Hamilton’s 3rd career award.

FIRST BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Todd Helton is tied with Albert Pujols for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with four.

NL Winner- Adam LaRoche (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Prince Fielder (3rd S.S. award)

Adam LaRoche earned his first career Silver Slugger award by posting a .271 batting average with 33 home runs and 100 RBI’s this past season. While LaRoche was impressive, Prince Fielder was even more impressive, as he batted .313 with 30 homers and 108 RBI’s. The thing that really jumps out at me about Fielder is that he was able to compile 108 RBI’s while spending the year batting behind the Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (who recorded 139 RBI’s of his own). That’s absolutely mind boggling, and so I fully agree with him winning his second straight Slugger.

SECOND BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.

NL Winner- Aaron Hill (2nd S.S. award)

AL Winner- Robinson Cano (4th S.S. award)

Aaron Hill took home his 2nd career Silver Slugger award, batting .302 with 26 home runs and 85 RBI’s this season. There were a few other National League candidates I felt were just as worthy of the award, but I can’t say I disagree with the selection of Hill. As far as Cano goes, he once again led all American League second basemen in the major categories, and as a result, won his third straight Slugger award.

THIRD BASE

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.

NL Winner- Chase Headley (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Miguel Cabrera (4th S.S. award)

Chase Headley was the shock of this years awards for me. It wasn’t that he didn’t deserve it–I mean, he put up great stats–but I didn’t expect him to beat out the other candidates. But hey, congratulations to him. As far as Miguel Cabrera goes, he was a no brainer to win. Cabrera led all American League batters in home runs, RBI’s and batting average, so it was no surprise when he received his 4th career Silver Slugger award.

SHORT STOP

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a short stop, with nine.

NL Winner- Ian Desmond (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- Derek Jeter (5th S.S. award)

Ian Desmond posted some impressive numbers this season, earning him his 1st career Silver Slugger award. He came through in the clutch a lot for the Nationals, and proved to be one of the best hitting short stops of the 2012 season. The American League portion saw Derek Jeter taking home his 5th career Slugger, which was no shock. Jeter led all of baseball in hits (the 3rd oldest to ever do so), and most deserved the award.

CATCHER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.

NL Winner- Buster Posey (1st S.S. award)

AL Winner- A.J. Pierzynski (1st S.S. award)

If Chase Headley was the shock of this year’s awards, A.J. Pierzynski was the second greatest surprise. Many had Joe Mauer winning the award (myself included) but it was Pierzynski winning his first career Silver Slugger. While the AL winner was somewhat of a surprise, the National League winner Buster Posey was just the opposite. Posey put up MVP caliber numbers, and thus was able to win his first career Slugger award.

PITCHER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.

Winner- Stephen Strasburg (1st S.S. award)

Pitchers aren’t really known for their offense, but there are a few who can actually hit. None more so in 2012 than Stephen Strasburg who was able to record 13 hits in 47 at-bats, which comes out to a .277 batting average. In addition, Strasburg amassed 7 RBI’s, including his first career homer, making him the most deserving of the Slugger award among pitchers.

DESIGNATED HITTER

Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with five.

Winner- Billy Butler (1st S.S. award)

Posting a batting average of .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI’s, Billy Butler proved to be the most consistent Designated Hitter of the 2012 season, earning him his first career Silver Slugger award. Comparing Butler’s stats to the other DH’s throughout baseball, he was the most deserving of them all, so I agree with the voters.

2012 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS

  • There were 11 first time Silver Slugger winners.
  • Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun were the only winners who also won a Silver Slugger last year.
  • The Nationals had the most winners of any team, with three.
  • There were four Silver Slugger winners who also won Gold Glove awards this year.
  • Derek Jeter received a 1.5 million dollar bonus for winning the award.
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