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MLB Silver Slugger Nominees (And My Picks to Win Each): NL Edition

Mark Feinsand recently tweeted that the MLB has announced their finalists for the 2021 Silver Slugger awards for each position.

Over the next three days I’m going to address each leagues nominees, who I think should win, and on Friday showcase a collection of snubs for the award this year.

Today we highlight the National League!

 


 

Catchers:

Nominees: Buster Posey (SFG), Will Smith (LAD), J.T. Realmuto (PHI), Omar Narvaez (MIL)

It does not start any better than this as the NL Silver Slugger for catchers should be a pretty serious battle between the Dodgers and the Giants through Will Smith and Buster Posey. As we saw in yesterday’s post, I believe most voters (who are managers/coaches around the MLB) are going to favor the player with better standard metrics (HR, RBI, AVG) as opposed to those with better advanced metrics (wRC, wRC+, Off). Here we have a near tie between Posey and Smith. Posey leads nominated catchers in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, wRC+, and Off. Smith leads nominated catchers in HR, XBH, RBI’s, Walks, and wRC. Ultimately, I think Posey will win out which is helped in large part to his .304 AVG.

To highlight the others, J.T. Realmuto had a solid season with the most games, hits, doubles, triples, and strikeouts of the group, though he finds himself a comfortable 3rd. Omar Narvaez was a negative (overall) offensive player, though for a catcher he was above-average even while not leading any metric across the 4 nominees.

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First Base:

Nominees: Joey Votto (CIN), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Max Muncy (LAD), Paul Goldschmidt (STL)

Any of these first basemen are qualified to win the Silver Slugger this year. Joey Votto tied for leading with HR’s, RBI’s, and wRC+ while boasting the best SLG and OPS. Freddie Freeman played the most games, had the highest AVG/most hits and OBP/most walks and the best wRC. Max Muncy tied for most HR’s and wRC+. Paul Goldschmidt tied for the most RBI’s and had the highest Off.

Ultimately, I think this is going to go to Freddie Freeman. He nearly produced to a .300/.400/.500 line and he was the most consistently high ranked across metrics at first base.

table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }#NameTeamGPAABH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSwRCwRC+Off1Joey VottoCIN129533448119231369977127.266.375.563.9389814027.82Freddie FreemanATL159695600180252318386107.300.393.503.89612113534.43Max MuncyLAD144592497124262369483120.249.368.527.89510314032.14Paul GoldschmidtSTL158679603177362319967136.294.365.514.87911513834.9

 

Second Base:

Nominees: Trea Turner (WSH/LAD), Jonathan India (CIN), Jake Cronenworth (SDP), Ozzie Albies (ATL)

Finally we have a position that looks to be pretty clearly decided…except the player with the best stats also only played 49 games at the position. This hasn’t held back voters in the past (see: Rafael Palmeiro’s 1999 Gold Glove while playing only 28 games at first base), it does add an interesting element to consider. Overall, Trea Turner had the most hits, best AVG, SLG, OPS, wRC, wRC+, and Off. On the surface, he looks to be the favorite to win.

However, Jonathan India had the best OBP, the most walks and Ozzie Albies had the most doubles, triples, HR’s, (thus XBH), and RBI’s. (Jake Cronenworth did not lead any single metric.) Ultimately, I think Trea Turner does win out, but if voters considered time at the position I think Ozzie Albies has the next best shot.

(Note: While the image of the press release noted that it was Justin Turner (LAD) nominated, I assume this was a typo as Justin Turner has played just 1 inning at second base since the beginning of the 2016 season.)

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Third Base:

Nominees: Austin Riley (ATL), Manny Machado (SDP), Patrick Wisdom (CHC), Nolan Arenado (STL)

And now, for real this time, we have a position with an actual clear favorite. Austin Riley (who I snubbed on my NL MVP ballot) was the best hitting third baseman in the NL this past season. He had the most hits, was 1 short on both doubles and Home Runs, had the most RBI’s, the best AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, wRC, wRC+, and Off. It’s pretty clear he is the favorite and should pretty easily win some hardware.

Nolan Arenado was the 3B leader in doubles, triples, Home Runs, and XBH’s while putting up 105 RBI’s, and Manny Machado also passed the 100 RBI mark with 106 to his name and over 60 XBH’s. Patrick Wisdom likely got nominated for his solid play as a rookie.

table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }#NameTeamGPAABH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSwRCwRC+Off1Austin RileyATL1606625901793313310752168.303.367.531.89811613525.72Manny MachadoSDP1536405641573122810663102.278.347.489.8369612215.83Patrick WisdomCHC10637533878130286132153.231.305.518.823551156.64Nolan ArenadoSTL157653593151343341055096.255.312.494.8079111310.7

 

Shortstop:

Nominees: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SDP), Trea Turner (WSH/LAD), Brandon Crawford (SFG), Willy Adames (MIL)

Shortstop is another position with a clear favorite by the name of Fernando Tatis Jr. Though he did play some outfield in 2021, he played over 100 games at shortstop while leading them in Home Runs, RBI’s, Walks, (strikeouts), SLG, OPS, wRC+, and Off.

Trea Turner (also nominated* at second base) led with doubles, triples, AVG, OBP, and wRC. Brandon Crawford also led by way of triples, and Nolan Arenado had no leading stats among the nominees.

table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }#NameTeamGPAABH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSwRCwRC+Off1Fernando Tatis Jr.SDP130546478135310429762153.282.364.611.97510615648.52Trea Turner– – –148646595195343287741110.328.375.536.91111714239.53Brandon CrawfordSFG138549483144303249056105.298.373.522.8959513927.84Willy AdamesMIL99413365104260205847105.285.366.521.8867113519.6

 

Outfield (3):

Nominees: Bryce Harper (PHI), Juan Soto (WSH), Jesse Winker (CIN), Nick Castellanos (CIN), Bryan Reynolds (PIT), Tyler O’Neill (STL), Adam Duvall (MIA/ATL)

Both Bryce Harper (and his 1.044 OPS) and Juan Soto (with his .999 OPS) are clearly the top-2 outfielders by way of statistics for the NL outfield Silver Slugger. The question of the remaining 5 players is who should win the last award. Just to be clear, Bryce Harper led NL outfielders in doubles, XBH, SLG, OPS, wRC+, and Off while Juan Soto led in walks, AVG, OBP, and wRC.

My next favorite would be Nick Castellanos who eclipsed 30 Home Runs, 100 RBI’s, and a .300 AVG, though teammate Jessie Winker also had a very productive season with nearly a .300/.400/.500 triple-slash (yet he played in just 110 games) and Bryan Reynolds led OF in hits and AVG while also nearly putting up a .300/.400/.500 line too (and he was 3rd highest in wRC and Off behind Harper and Soto). Tyler O’Neill is an outside-looking-in option, but he had a much lower AVG and OBP than the rest.

Adam Duvall got a nomination for leading nominated OF in Home Runs and RBI’s, though I don’t expect that will effect much given his .228 AVG.

table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }#NameTeamGPAABH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSwRCwRC+Off1Bryce HarperPHI1415994881514213584100134.309.429.6151.04413017050.72Juan SotoWSN151654502157202299514593.313.465.534.99913616348.83Jesse WinkerCIN11048542312932124715375.305.394.556.9499414823.34Nick CastellanosCIN1385855311643813410041121.309.362.576.93910814029.65Bryan ReynoldsPIT159646559169358249075119.302.390.522.91211614237.66Tyler O’NeillSTL138537482138262348038168.286.352.560.9129614435.17Adam Duvall– – –1465555131171723811335174.228.281.491.772721030.0

 

Pitcher:

Nominees: Jacob deGrom (NYM), Max Fried (ATL), German Marquez (COL), Madison Bumgarner (ARI)

In what could be the last ever pitching silver slugger award, I would’ve hoped that it would go to Shohei Ohtani…but I guess Jacob deGrom- even though he played half the games as the other nominees- should be the actual winner (it also helps he actually plays in the NL). And the case here is pretty clear: he was a positive hitter.

Jacob deGrom had 12 hits in 15 games while hitting to a .364 AVG. His OPS was nearly 100 points better than the rest while being the only pitcher with a wRC+ above 80. It’s a shame that he got hurt and missed a large part of the season, but he was clearly the best hitting pitcher in the NL even in his limited playing time.

Credit to Max Fried and German Marquez for passing double-digit hits (and Marquez for hitting a HR) as well. Also, while Madison Bumgarner had just 4 hits in 2021, he did recorded 9 walks and he had a higher OBP than Marquez, though his inclusion is likely due do his prior hitting success.

(Note: Marquez’s Home Run did not happen at Coors Field, but instead it was a dead-center shot at Petco Park- which had a 0.906 HR factor- and it came off of Yu Darvish. It was legit.)

table.tableizer-table { font-size: 12px; border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #CCC; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }#NameTeamGPAABH2B3BHRRBIBBSOAVGOBPSLGOPSwRCwRC+Off1Jacob deGromNYM15333312100609.364.364.394.75841120.52Max FriedATL326755153005418.273.322.327.649776-2.13German MarquezCOL326053145019013.264.264.415.679665-2.74Madison BumgarnerARI28523941003929.103.280.128.408230-4.7

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