Thoughts about the baseball world.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Analysis: 2005 Silver Sluggers - AL

That time of year again. After the postseason, the World Series winners have been annointed, all the players are settling in back at home, and the GM's are about to begin their season. And to kick it all off, MLB grants us a story that tides us fans over until March: the annual baseball awards.

The first of these to be presented are the Silver Slugger awards. For the uninitiated, a Silver Slugger is given every year to the best hitter at each position, judged purely on offensive statistics. The winners, for this year:

American League

Catcher: Jason Varitek, Boston
First Base: Mark Teixeira, Texas
Second Base: Alfonso Soriano, Texas
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, New York (A)
Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, Baltimore
Outfielder: Manny Ramirez, Boston
Outfielder: Gary Sheffield, New York (A)
Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, Anaheim
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston

Decent choices for the most part. Let's break it down, shall we?


Jason VaritekAB 470 | AVG .281 | OBP .368 | SLG .489 | 70 RBI | 70 R | 2 SB

Should've Been:
Victor MartinezAB 547 | AVG .305 | OBP .382 | SLG .475 | 80 RBI | 73 R | 0 SB

It's a close one, and honestly, Varitek is a decent choice. It could go either way, although the choice is most definitely between Jason Varitek of Boston and Victor Martinz of Cleveland. In my book, Martinez slightly edges out Varitek - their average numbers are the same... +.14 OBP for Martinez, +.14 SLG for Varitek, although Martinez is significantly better in AVG. I give the nod to Martinez simply because he contributed more - he hit those averages over 14 more games, 83 more plate appearances. Although on average they were the same, in terms of overall contribution for the entire season, Martinez was better.

First Baseman

Mark TeixeiraAB 644 | AVG .301 | OBP .381 | SLG .575 | 144 RBI | 112 R | 4 SB

Should've Been:
Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira absolutely floored all competition in this category. His .575 slugging is very high, and .381 OBP is also very good, 2nd among all first basemen, behind Jason Giambi. He looks like the premeir first baseman in the AL, although Jason Giambi had a nice bounceback and could be big next season.

Second Baseman

Alfonso SorianoAB 637 | AVG .268 | OBP .312 | SLG .512 | 104 RBI | 102 R | 30 SB

Should've Been:
Brian RobertsAB 561 | AVG .314 | OBP .390 | SLG .515 | 73 RBI | 92 R | 27 SB

Looking at your traditional numbers, you wouldn't have a doubt that Alfonso Soriano should be the silver slugger for 2B. 30HR-30SB guy, with TWICE as many HR's as Roberts. However, look into their averages, and the evidence is clear. Roberts actually surpasses Soriano's power - .515 SLG to .512; although he has far less homeruns, he hits far more triples, doubles, and singles, in 76 less at-bats than Soriano does, and boasts more than twice as many walks as Soriano too. Roberts is a complete hitter in every way that Soriano is not - Alfonso may get the big numbers with steals and homeruns, but Roberts far surpasses him in the ability to get on base, the ability to get a hit, and even matches Soriano in power-hitting ability.


Miguel TejadaAB 654 | AVG .304 | OBP .351 | SLG .515 | 98 RBI | 89 R | 5 SB

Should've Been:
Michael YoungAB 668 | AVG .331 | OBP .387 | SLG .513 | 91 RBI | 114 R | 5 SB

A classic example of voting by the status quo. Miguel Tejada is the household name, while Young is the obscure newcomer shuffled into a loaded Texas lineup. Young had an incredible season, huge batting average (led AL), as well as an OBP that far surpassed Tejada and a slugging that about matched him. Tejada, with a major off-season, has no merit at all in winning this.

Third Baseman

Alex RodriguezAB 605 | AVG .321 | OBP .423 | SLG .610 | 130 RBI | 124 R | 21 SB

Should've Been:
Alex Rodriguez

A semi-suprising turnaround, that silenced all of the A-Rod in New York naysayers (myself included). After a dissapointing first season in New York (sub-40 HR's), Rodriguez bounced back in a big way, not only hitting for over .600 SLG, but also achieving well over a .400 OBP and .300 AVG, as well as upkeeping his refound speed (21 steals). Not that they'd be much competition for A-Rod anyway, but hugely dissapointing seasons from the likes of Eric Chavez, Melvin Mora, Hank Blalock, and Adrian Beltre meant there was no competition at all in this field.


Manny RamirezAB 554 | AVG .292 | OBP .391 | SLG .594 | 144 RBI | 112 R | 1 SB

Vladimir Guerrero
AB 520 | AVG .317 | OBP .397 | SLG .565 | 108 RBI | 95 R | 13 SB

Gary Sheffield
AB 584 | AVG .291 | OBP .382 | SLG .512 | 123 RBI | 104 R | 10 SB

Should've Been:
Manny Ramirez
Vladimir Guerrero
Gary Sheffield

The right choices here. All three were good players, although Sheffield's play was considerably less than superstar. However, it was a thin year for AL OF's, and Manny, Vladdy-Pants, and Sheffield represent the best possible. Ramirez was again a run-producing machine, driving in 144 RBIs and scoring 112 runs. His average dipped a little, but his OBP remained fairly high at just below .400, and his SLG was just below .600. Another semi-injured season for Vladimir, but decent numbers all around. .397. Sheffield was a fairly good hitter, but at .291-.382-.512 is nowhere near dominant. The only other plausible candidate would be Crawford, whose 46 steals might account for something, but a quick look at his hitting numbers, with an abysmal .334 OBP (especially given a .301 AVG) and typical .469 SLG, make him a downright ordinary player with singular speed talent.

Third Baseman

David OrtizAB 601 | AVG .300 | OBP .402 | SLG .604 | 148 RBI | 119 R | 1 SB

Should've Been:
David Ortiz

A dominating season for Ortiz, who probably solidified himself as The Man in Boston (goodbye, Manny). Huge numbers for slugging, with a good .400 OBP, and his RBI numbers are massive. Another candidate of note, however, should definitely be Travis Hafner. He was a very good power hitter, and although he couldn't keep up the homerun pace with Ortiz, due to his doubles (42 to 40, in 115less at bats) his slugging percentage was on par (.595). Hafner also did extremely well with getting on base, compiling a .411 OBP that surpasses Ortiz's marginally. Alas, Hafner missed out on a large chunk fo the season, playing in only 137 games with 486 at-bats, and didn't achieve nearly as much in the overall season as Ortiz did.


Post a Comment

<< Home