The 2016 Silver Slugger award winners were announced Thursday night on MLB Network. While the Gold Glove Awards given out on Tuesday focused on the defensive side of baseball, the Silver Slugger awards are given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League.
Marking the 37th annual Silver Slugger awards, which began in 1980, the awards are voted on by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball (managers can not vote for their own players), with voters considering several offensive categories in selecting the winners. Those categories include batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, in addition to coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.
Barry Bonds’ 12 career Silver Slugger awards stand as the most all-time by a single player at any position, and no one from this season’s winners are even close. Here are the list of winners with my thoughts on each:
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.
NL Winners – Charlie Blackmon (1st career), Christian Yelich (1st career) and Yoenis Cespedes (1st career)
AL Winners – Mark Trumbo (1st career), Mookie Betts (1st career) and Mike Trout (5th career)
For Mike Trout, it was business as usual on Thursday, as he won his fifth career Silver Slugger award — having done so in all of his full seasons in the big leagues. For the other five winners, they were all first-timers, as Charlie Blackmon, Christian Yelich, Yoenis Cespedes, Mark Trumbo and Mookie Betts each took home their first career hardware for their hitting.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Miguel Cabrera holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with seven.
NL Winner – Anthony Rizzo (1st career)
AL Winner – Miguel Cabrera (7th career)
Miguel Cabrera further increased his lead in regards to number of Silver Sluggers as a first baseman, winning his seventh in his Hall of Fame career. On the other side, World Champion Anthony Rizzo won his first Silver Slugger award for his career, but he very well could win several more before all is said and done.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.
NL Winner – Daniel Murphy (1st career)
AL Winner – Jose Altuve (3rd career)
After the seasons that both Daniel Murphy and Jose Altuve had, it was no shock to see them win the Silver Slugger award. Murphy picks up his first, while Altuve takes home the honor for the third time in his career. Whether they can each keep up their amazing 2016 season into 2017 is yet to be seen, but more Silver Sluggers could be on the horizon for them.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.
NL Winner – Nolan Arenado (2nd career)
AL Winner – Josh Donaldson (2nd career)
Nolan Arenado is going to go down as one of the best all-around third basemen in history when all is said and done, further adding to his career resume with his second career Silver Slugger. Josh Donaldson also picks up his second award, doing so by having a year much like his MVP-winning season in 2015.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a shortstop, with nine.
NL Winner – Corey Seager (1st career)
AL Winner – Xander Bogaerts (2nd career)
The future appears to be bright at the shortstop position, as Corey Seager and Xander Bogaerts look to be the top players at those positions for quite some time to come. Although anything can happen in the future, them each winning many more Silver Slugger awards seems very likely.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.
NL Winner – Wilson Ramos (1st career)
AL Winner – Salvador Perez (1st career)
Both Wilson Ramos and Salvador Perez picked up their first career Silver Slugger awards, but each have had plenty of great seasons to this point in their careers. However, they took things to another level in 2016, making them each extremely deserving of the award win.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.
Winner – Jake Arrieta (1st career)
Pitchers are generally known as the worst hitting players on any given team’s roster, but there are a few of them who can actually swing the bat fairly well. One of those such players is Jake Arrieta, who can really put on a show at times throughout any given season, in addition to being one of the best pitchers in the game.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with seven.
Winner – David Ortiz (7th career)
In his last season before retirement, David Ortiz had one of his best overall seasons of his career. At age forty, Ortiz posted numbers that would be considered amazing for someone even half his age. With him no longer going to be the designated hitter for the Red Sox, it’s fitting to see him go out with one final Silver Slugger win.