While Houston Astros fans are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2022 World Series, Louisville Slugger released the finalists for the Silver Slugger award Thursday morning, of which feature five Astros players announced on the team’s Twitter page.
The Silver Slugger is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League.
It is voted upon by MLB managers and coaches from every team. Votes are supposed to be based on offensive analytics and voter’s eye test of the subject player’s offensive value.
Martín Maldonado – Catcher
The most surprising candidate for the Silver Slugger award is the Astros’ very own catcher, Martín Maldonado. Machete will likely not take home the award for the Astros this season, slashing .186/.248/.352. He did manage to put together 15 home runs and 45 RBI, both career highs.
The below-average production won’t hold a candle to Baltimore Orioles’ rookie catcher, Adley Rutschman who lead AL catchers with an OPS+ of 128. 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 the running for his sixth Silver Slugger award with his appearance as a finalist at second base this season. The 32-year old second baseman has seen a bit of a resurgence this season, tying his best OPS+ of 160 in a 162-game season. This 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 primary challenger is Andrés Giménez, All-Star second baseman for the Cleveland Guardians, who had a breakout season slashing .297/.371/.466 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 ready to give up on Alex Bregman after his lackluster start to the season. However, he threw it into overdrive and finished at a torrid pace. In the second half, he slashed .287/.379/.515 with 12 home runs and 47 RBI. For the season, he amassed 23 home runs, 93 RBI, and a 133 OPS+ – his highest OPS+ since he last won the Silver Slugger award and finished second in MVP voting in 2019.
Bregman had a good season ultimately… but José Ramírez of the Guardians and Rafael Devers of the Red Sox had great seasons. Three-time winner Ramírez carried a .280 average, 29 home runs, 20 stolen bases, an MLB-leading 44 doubles, 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 Toronto Blue Jays is the other finalist in the category.
Kyle Tucker – Outfield
Kyle Tucker was also a finalist at the outfield position. He slashed .257/.330/.478 with 28 doubles, 30 home runs, and 25 stolen bases.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Silver Slugger belongs to Aaron Judge, which should be his second consecutive award. Likely among the top two candidates for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, Judge eclipsed the American League single-season home run record with 62 home runs.
The rest of the field features American League West foes Julio Rodríguez (SEA), Mike Trout (LAA), Taylor Ward (LAA), and Adolis García (TEX). They are joined by Randy Arozarena (TB), George Springer (TOR), Teoscar Hernández (TOR), and Anthony Santander (BAL) to round out the field.
Yordan Alvarez – Designated Hitter
The Astros best offensive weapon this season, Yordan Alvarez is among the finalists for Silver Slugger award for Designated Hitter. Yordan took a big leap in development after signing his six-year, $115 million contract extension earlier this season.
Where to start on Yordan’s offensive production? There are so many great things to highlight. Alvarez posted an OPS+ of 187, second only to Aaron Judge in the entirety of MLB. He slashed .306/.406/.613 with 37 home runs, 29 doubles and 97 RBI through 135 games.
Looking to capture 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 in home runs, and fifth in runs batted in.
The other candidates for Silver Slugger award at designated hitter are Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), George Springer (TOR), and Adolis García (TEX). Ohtani has had an amazing season as a pitcher and a batter. He batted .273 with 34 home runs, 11 steals, 95 RBIs and an .875 OPS.
Based on offense metrics alone, Ohtani shows up far less frequently than Yordan Alvarez among the top ranks of offensive statistical categories – which should make this a shoo-in for Alvarez – a likely vote-getter in the American League MVP race.
The winners will be announced on a special-one hour show on MLB Network on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.