Silver Sluggers, presented by Louisville Slugger, are awarded annually to the best offensive players at each position in each league. Voting was conducted by Major League managers and coaches, using batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage as key statistics. Voters could not include players from their own team on their ballots.
What came out of all that was a roster of the game’s finest craftsmen when it comes to swinging the bat. The Orioles had a franchise-record three honorees, the Tigers, Cardinals and Pirates had two among the 13 teams represented.
In the American League, the three players who are finalists for the Most Valuable Player Award were locks for Silver Sluggers, with Cabrera claiming third base for a second straight season with the fifth in his career, second-year phenom Trout going 2-for-2 in taking an outfield spot and Davis blasting his way to silver at first base.
Cabrera, who also has won Silver Sluggers at first base and outfield, had a season equal to or better than his Triple Crown campaign the year before, Trout pulled his Mr. Everything act again and had a cycle to show for it, and Davis delivered Major League highs in homers with 53 and RBIs with 138.
Cano stands out for his consistency, grabbing a fourth consecutive honor as the best offensive second baseman in the league — not a bad way to enter his first foray into free agency. Over his last four seasons, he has averaged roughly 194 hits, 29 homers, 98 runs and 107 RBIs.
David Ortiz earned his sixth Silver Slugger for his work at designated hitter — and that was before he went all historic in winning World Series MVP. Joe Mauer collected silver bat No. 5 at catcher, the first since 2010 for the Minnesota catcher.
All year long, they went deep and they found the gaps, and baseball’s best batsmen of 2013 connected one more time on Wednesday night, collecting The Silver Slugger Awards for their offensive performances this season.
With the Yankees’ Robinson Cano picking up a fourth consecutive silver bat and slugging first basemen Chris Davis of the Orioles and Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs among nine first-time winners, all 18 honorees brought the offensive firepower in the regular season.
Six repeat winners from 2012 included Cano, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Reds outfielder Jay Bruce and Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond.
As for the nine first-time winners, Davis and Goldschmidt lead the way, joined by Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy, Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina, Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer and Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke.
SOURCE: John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com.