‘Tis the season for players to add to their trophy cases. This week, the Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers were handed out, and next week the big trophies (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year) will be awarded.
They were two of the most lethal hitters in the American League in 2015, and somehow they did not walk away with Silver Slugger Awards.
Instead, J.D. Martinez was awarded the Silver Slugger on behalf of AL right fielders, and Kendrys Morales won for the DH position.
I’ll admit that arguing for awards like Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers is a somewhat futile exercise; the awards themselves are determined by a few select statistics, but also subjective opinions of managers.
“These voters consider several offensive categories in selecting the winners, including batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage, in addition to “coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.”
So with that criteria in mind, it seemed like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion presented strong cases to win Silver Slugger Awards. Apparently, their cases weren’t strong enough.
Despite having better offensive seasons than their counterparts, Bautista lost out to Martinez and Encarnacion lost out to Morales.
Really, there are only two knocks against the case for Jose Bautista; one, that his batting average was “only” .250, despite outslugging Martinez and besting him in every other offensive category. Secondly, Jose played 118 games in right field and DH’d 33 of them.
Then in the case of Edwin Encarnacion vs. Kendrys Morales, once again, Encarnacion was only bested in the batting average category, but outhit Morales in all other aspects, yet was not declared the winner of the Silver Slugger Award.
The fact that this award is subjective is the part that really scares me. It should simply be a matter of who has the best numbers across the board, and that player wins the Silver Slugger.
Clearly, voters are placing a lot of weight on batting average (which in itself is not an all encompassing statistic), and to my surprise, home runs aren’t even a determining factor in these awards.
The Silver Slugger awards aren’t something worth rioting over, but here’s what irks me about this whole thing; by the very definition of the award itself, Bautista and Encarnacion were the best sluggers at their respective positions. Shouldn’t that have been enough? Evidently not.