Sunday, November 15, 2015

2015 NL Silver Slugger Review

Harper won his first of what will likely be many Silver Sluggers (CBS Washington)
The National League did a much better job of selecting its Silver Sluggers than the American League did. There was but one selection I disagreed with, and only by the slimmest of margins.

Posey was an easy choice after leading the position in the triple slash stats as well as wOBA (.363) and wRC+ (138). His 95 RBI were also tops among catchers.

Really tough call here between Goldy and Joey Votto. Goldschmidt hit for a little more power, but Votto reached base at a higher rate than anyone besides Bryce Harper. Their OPSes were within five points of each other, but Votto came out slightly ahead in wRC+ (172 to 164) and wOBA (.427 to .418). So as great as Goldschmidt was, Votto was just a hair better.

Gordon's not a traditional Silver Slugger recipient in that he amassed just four homers and 46 RBI, but he was still the best-hitting second baseman in a weak NL field (the only other leaguemate worthy of consideration was Daniel Murphy). His 205 hits and 58 steals led the majors while his .333 batting average paced the NL--numbers that would make Ichiro Suzuki smile.

At the start of the year, who would have guessed that Arenado would lead the loop in home runs, the majors in RBI and total bases, and his position in slugging? I didn't see any of those things coming true, let alone all of them, and I'm sure you didn't, either. As long as he sticks around in Colorado, he'll probably have several more years like this.

Crawford was one of the few National League shortstops who was an asset with the stick this year, taking advantage of Troy Tulowitzki switching leagues and a down year by Ian Desmond to cop his first (and probably only) Silver Slugger. His 117 wRC+ was the highest by a shortstop who qualified for the batting title, and his 21 home runs were exceeded only by Carlos Correa at the position. With a stronger finish Jhonny Peralta would have won, but his second half fade (one homer and a .604 OPS after August 1st) cost him what would have been his first Silver Slugger.

OF Bryce Harper
The deserving NL MVP was an obvious choice after leading the world in OBP (.460), slugging (.649), OPS (1.109), and OPS+ (195), not to mention the National League in runs (118) and homers (42).

'Cutch earned his fourth straight Silver Slugger, recovering from a slow start to bat .292/.401/.488 (146 wRC+) with 23 homers and 96 RBI.

CarGo terrorized NL pitching in the second half, cranking 30 homers after Independence Day en route to his first 40-homer season. That monster finish helped him to his best season and first Silver Slugger since his 2010 breakthrough.

Few pitchers help their own cause more than Bumgarner, who earned his second straight silver bat after clubbing five home runs in just 77 official at-bats. His .247/.275/.468 batting line would be fine for an outfielder, much less a starting pitcher.

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