Tuesday, March 28, 2023
HomeAmerican LeagueHouston Astros Impress with Five Finalists for AL Silver Slugger

Houston Astros Impress with Five Finalists for AL Silver Slugger

As Houston Astros fans eagerly await the start of the 2022 World Series, Thursday morning Louisville Slugger released the Silver Slugger Award finalists, with five Astros players announced at the Team Twitter page.

The Silver Slugger is awarded annually to the top offensive player at each position in both the American League and National League.

It is chosen by MLB managers and coaches of all teams. The votes shall be based on offensive analysis and the voter’s eye test on the offensive value of the player in question.

Martín Maldonado – Catcher

The most surprising contender for the Silver Slugger Award is the Astros’ own catcher, Martín Maldonado. Machete likely won’t take home the award for the Astros this season, cutting .186/.248/.352. He managed to put together 15 home runs and 45 RBI, both career highs.

The subpar production won’t hold a candle to Baltimore Orioles rookie catcher Adleyrutschman, who leads the AL catchers with a 128 OPS+. Alejandro Kirk (TOR), Sean Murphy (OAK), Cal Raleigh (SEA) and Salvador Perez (KC) are the other finalists at Catcher.

Jose Altuve – Second base

Jose Altuve will be in contention for his sixth Silver Slugger Award this season with his appearance as a finalist at second base. The 32-year-old second baseman has had a small resurgence this season, posting his best OPS+ of 160 in a 162-game season. That mark, his highest since his 2017 MVP season, also puts him in the top four in OPS+ in MLB.

Altuve is the likely candidate to take home his first Silver Slugger Award since 2018. His main challenger is Cleveland Guardians All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez, who had a .297/.371/.466 breakout season with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases. The other candidates at second base are Marcus Semien (TEX) and DJ LeMahieu (NYY).

Alex Bregman – Third base

Many fans were willing to give up on Alex Bregman after his lackluster start to the season. However, he threw it at full speed and finished it at a blistering pace. In the second half, he slashed .287/.379/.515 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI. For the season, he racked up 23 home runs, 93 RBI and 133 OPS+ — his highest OPS+ since last winning the Silver Slugger Award and finishing second in MVP voting in 2019.

Bregman ended up having a good season…but the Guardians’ José Ramírez and the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers had great seasons. Three-time winner Ramírez carried a .280 average, 29 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 44 doubles at the top of the MLB and finished second to Aaron Judge with 126 RBI. Devers, the reigning silver slugger at third base, batted .295 with 27 home runs, 42 doubles and 88 RBI.

Matt Chapman of the Toronto Blue Jays is the other finalist in this category.

Kyle Tucker – Outfield

Kyle Tucker was also a finalist at the outfield position. He batted .257/.330/.478 with 28 doubles, 30 homers and 25 stolen bases.

There is absolutely no doubt that the silver slugger belongs to Aaron Judge in what should be his second straight award. Probably one of the top two contenders for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, Judge’s 62 home runs eclipsed the American League’s home run record in a single season.

The rest of the field consists of American League West opponents Julio Rodríguez (SEA), Mike Trout (LAA), Taylor Ward (LAA) and Adolis García (TEX). They will be joined by Randy Arozarena (TB), George Springer (TOR), Teoscar Hernández (TOR) and Anthony Santander (BAL) to round out the field.

Jordan Alvarez – Designated Batsman

Yordan Alvarez, the Astros’ top offensive weapon this season, is a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award as designated hitter. Jordan made a major developmental leap after signing his six-year, $115 million contract extension earlier this season.

Where to start with Jordan’s offensive production? There are so many great things to highlight. Alvarez posted an OPS+ 187, second only to Aaron Judge in all of MLB. He batted .306/.406/.613 with 37 home runs, 29 doubles and 97 RBI through 135 games.

Seeking his first Silver Slugger Award, Alvarez was fourth in offensive bWAR, fourth in batting average, second in on-base percentage, third in slugging, second in on-base plus slugging, fourth in runs scored, third on home runs. and fifth in runs batted in.

The other nominees for the Silver Slugger Award at Designated Hitter are Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), George Springer (TOR) and Adolis García (TEX). Ohtani had an amazing season as a pitcher and batter. He hit .273 with 34 home runs, 11 steals, 95 RBIs and .875 OPS.

Based on offensive metrics alone, Ohtani features far less frequently than Yordan Alvarez in the top ranks of the offensive stat categories – which should make this a shoo-in for Alvarez – a likely vote-winner in the American League MVP race.

Winners will be announced in an hour-long special on MLB Network on Thursday, November 10 at 6:00 pm Eastern Time.

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