The finalists for the American and National League Silver Slugger Awards — honoring the top offensive players at each position — were announced Thursday by Louisville Slugger. The winners will be revealed on Thursday, Nov. 10, during a one-hour show on MLB Network, which begins at 6 pm ET.
MLB managers and coaches vote for the Silver Sluggers, which go to one player apiece in each league at catcher, DH and each infield position, plus three outfielders. Like the Gold Glove Awards, the Silver Sluggers also added a utility category in 2022.
There are four voters from each of the 30 teams — the manager and three coaches of the team’s choice. Votes are based on both a combination of offensive statistics and the voters’ general impressions of players’ offensive value.
Vlad Jr. (2021) and Abreu (2020) are the last two AL Silver Sluggers at first base, and each has a case in ’22, with Guerrero tied for the lead among AL first basemen with 32 home runs and Abreu leading the pack with a . 304 batting average (not counting batting champion Luis Arraez, who’s up for the utility player Silver Slugger Award instead). But Rizzo, who won an NL Silver Slugger Award with the Cubs in 2016 and was the other AL first baseman with 32 homers this season, and Lowe, who hit .302 with 27 homers, have a chance, too.
The five-time Silver Slugger Altuve is probably the favorite to win his first award since 2018, as he hit .300 with 28 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 2022. But the breakout All-Star Giménez is right there, batting .297 with 17 homers and 20 steals, and so is the reigning Silver Slugger Semien, who had 26 homers and 25 steals this season. The two-time Silver Slugger LeMahieu is up for both the second base and utility player awards.
Ramírez and Devers both had big years at third base. Ramírez, a three-time Silver Slugger for the Guardians, had 29 home runs and 20 stolen bases while leading the league with 44 doubles and finishing second to Aaron Judge with 126 RBIs. Devers, the reigning Silver Slugger at third base, batted .295 with 27 home runs and 88 RBIs for the Red Sox. Bregman, the 2019 Silver Slugger, had 23 homers and 93 RBIs for the Astros, and Chapman hit 27 homers for Toronto.
The AL shortstop finalists are a strong field. Bichette led the American League in hits with 189 this season. The reigning Silver Slugger Bogaerts led all third basemen with a .307 batting average. The two-time NL Silver Slugger Seager hit 33 home runs in his first year in the AL, and Correa bounced back from a slow start to bat .291 with 22 homers in his first season as a Twin.
The AL outfield is absolutely stacked. There’s Judge, who just hit 62 homers to break Roger Maris’ historic mark and seems like a lock to win a second straight Silver Slugger Award and the third of his career. There’s Rodríguez, who’s already one of the most electric players in the game with 28 home runs and 25 stolen bases as a rookie. And there’s Trout, who hit 40 home runs in only 119 games with a .999 OPS and is looking for his ninth career Silver Slugger Award, which would break a tie with Manny Ramirez for second most among outfielders behind Barry Bonds (12).
Rutschman, Kirk and Raleigh could be the favorites here. Rutschman had a breakout rookie season for the Orioles, with 13 home runs, 35 doubles and a 128 OPS+ that was the best mark among AL catchers. Kirk was a first-time All-Star in 2022 for Toronto, and he’s now looking for his first Silver Slugger Award after batting .285 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs. Raleigh, meanwhile, led all catchers with 27 home runs. But there’s also Perez, a four-time Silver Slugger who hit 23 homers in 2022.
The two-way superstar Ohtani did not disappoint in the followup to his 46-homer MVP campaign — in 2022, he batted .273 with 34 homers, 11 steals, 95 RBIs and an .875 OPS. But the 2021 Silver Slugger will have to contend with Alvarez, who’s looking for his first Silver Slugger Award and just hit .306 with 37 home runs, 97 RBIs and a 1.019 OPS that was second only to Judge in 2022. Stanton (31 homers) and Springer (25 homers) have won two Silver Slugger Awards each but look like longshots to win their third.
Arraez won the American League batting title at .316, the only thing that stopped Judge from winning a Triple Crown this season. He’d be a Silver Slugger for the first time in his career. His competition includes two former Silver Slugger Award winners in Ohtani, who won at DH in 2021 (and is a finalist there again in ’22) and LeMahieu, who won in 2019 and ’20 at second base (and is a 2022 finalist there as well).
Goldschmidt and Freeman have dominated the field in recent years, combining for seven NL Silver Slugger Awards, including each of the past five (Goldschmidt in 2017-18, Freeman in 2019-21). Goldy, also a leading contender for NL MVP honors, now has a shot at his fifth Silver Slugger. That would break a tie with Todd Helton and Albert Pujols for the most by any first baseman in the history of the award, which goes back to 1980.
Each of these five would be a first-time winner. McNeil could have the advantage, given that his .326 average allowed him to edge out Freeman for the NL batting title. But Cronenworth was also a key piece of a Padres club that made it to the NLCS, Marte tied for third in the NL with 42 doubles and Wong posted career highs in homers (15) and OPS+ (118).
This isn’t the only award Machado and Arenado might be battling it out for this offseason, as they are also top candidates for NL MVP, along with Goldschmidt. The two posted extremely similar numbers in 2022, as Arenado hit .293/.358/.533 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs, while Machado was at .298/.366/.531 with 32 homers and 102 RBIs. Arenado’s four Silver Sluggers are tied for the third most all-time at third base, and Machado is also a previous winner (2020), but it’s Riley who is actually the reigning winner here. He also led the NL with 325 total bases, so this could be more than a two-man race.
This quartet includes two of this offseason’s most notable pending free agents, in Turner and Swanson, either of whom could burnish his resume with his first career Silver Slugger Award. Turner tied for the NL lead in plate appearances and filled up the stat sheet: 39 doubles, 21 homers, 100 RBIs, 27 steals and 101 runs scored. Swanson played in all 162 games and posted the best offensive season of his career, with a 115 OPS+. But they will have competition from a resurgent Lindor (26 homers, 107 RBIs), as well as the underrated Adames (31 homers, 98 RBIs).
Betts has already won four Silver Suggers — three in the AL and one in the NL (in 2020). He’d be the 13th outfielder to win at least five. Soto also is a contender for his third straight award, and while his numbers may not seem up to his usual lofty standards, he still posted a .401 OBP, a 149 OPS+ and 27 homers. Among a strong group of challengers are Schwarber, the NL home run leader (46); Harris II, the potential NL Rookie of the Year winner; and the Mets’ pair of Marte and Nimmo, the latter of whom is set to be one of the top free-agent outfielders available this winter.
Realmuto won this award in 2018 and ’19, while d’Arnaud followed in ’20. (The now-retired Buster Posey won his fifth Silver Slugger in ’21). Realmuto finished the season on a tear, with a .950 second-half OPS, to help lift the Phillies, narrowly, into the postseason. He also became only the second catcher with at least 20 homers and 20 steals in the same year. His NL East foe, d’Arnaud, made his first All-Star team at age 33 and hit a career-high 18 homers for the Braves. Smith has produced at the plate ever since debuting for the Dodgers in 2019 and had 24 homers, 87 RBIs and an .808 OPS in ’22. Contreras, the top pending free agent at catcher, hit 22 homers over 113 games in his contract year.
In the past, NL pitchers could win Silver Sluggers. Not anymore, though, with MLB instituting the universal DH in 2022. (The only previous NL DH winner was Marcell Ozuna in 2020, when the universal DH was also in effect). Could Pujols win it in his final season? If so, it would be his seventh Silver Slugger — at his fourth different spot (four at first base, one at third, one in the outfield). While the universal DH allowed Pujols to make a thrilling run past the 700-homer mark, it also allowed Harper to stick in the Phillies’ lineup despite an elbow injury that prevented him from playing the outfield.
*Harper appeared in 99 games, short of the 100-game minimum to qualify for winning award, so he is ineligible to win
Who will win the first NL Silver Slugger at the utility spot? McNeil, of course, also has a shot to win at second base, so he could double up after also logging 47 games in the outfield. Drury bashed 28 homers while splitting time between first, second and third base for the Reds and Padres. Edman started at least 67 games at both second base and shortstop and swiped 32 bases, while Estrada had 14 homers with 21 steals while starting at four different spots.