Ball Boy Talk: Silver Slugger Winners
Welcome to some Ball Boy Talk. Today we are going to discuss the winners of the 2020 Silver Slugger Awards. These awards are given to the players at each position who were merely phenomenal with the bat in their hands. Each of these players who to be the class of their position with the bat killing opposing pitching with HR, RBI, 3x slash lines.
Juan Soto (WSH)
I can't believe that Soto is only 22. In 2020 we saw Soto post a 2.1WAR rating. During his 154AB, he had 54H, 13HR, 37RBI, and slashed .351/.490/.695 for an OPS of 1.185 and an OPS+ of 212. OPS+ is a number we will look at during this article a lot, but the average OPS+ is 100. Soto was 2x as good as the average OF at the plate. Soto also won the NL batting title in 2020.
Mookie Betts (LAD)
What can't Mookie do the question? He posted a 3.4WAR in 2020. Over 219AB, he had 64H, 16HR 39RBI, 10SB, a slash line of .292/.366/.562 for an OPS of .927, and an OPS+ 149. He was simply outstanding!
Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL)
The 3rd best player in the NL, in my opinion, is right where he should be. Acuna is also only 22. In 2020, he posted a 2.1WAR. In his 160AB, he had 40H, 14HR, 29RBI, and 8SB. Those numbers are not mindblowing at first, but let's look at the slash line of .250/.406/.581 with an OPS of .987 and an OPS+ of 155. Indeed he was elite.
Mike Trout (LAA)
I am glad to see that Trout didn't get snubbed here as he did in the MVP voting. In 2020 Trout was Trout posting a 1.6WAR. He had 56H, 17HR, 46RBI, and slashed .281/.390/.603 with an OPS of .993 and an OPS+ of 168.
Teoscar Hernández (TOR)
Hernandez had himself a year posting a 1.3WAR. During his 190AB, he had 55H, 16HR, 34RBI. To go along with a slash line of .289/.340/.579, an OPS of .919, and an OPS+ of 146. At 28, he looks to be leveling up going into his prime.
Eloy Jiménez (CWS)
Before I even touch on Eloy's numbers. I must say I firmly believe that Eloy is the Chi Sox best player all around. IN 2020 Eloy posted a 1.1WAR. During his 213AB, he had 63H, 14HR, 41RBI. At the same time, he was slashing .296/.332/.559, an OPS of .891, and an OPS+ of 140. At 23, Eloy has a massive upside, and it's only begun.
-Note both players are MVP Finalists and my pick to win the awards. Check out my break down of the BBWAA Yearly Awards here: https://www.theballboyblog.com/post/ball-boy-talk-bbwaa-yearly-awards
NL winner: Freddie Freeman (ATL)
MVFree, was sensational in 2020, posting a 2.9WAR. During his 214AB, he had 73H, 232B, 13HR, 53RBI, and a slash line of .341/.462/.640 and OPS of 1.102 and an OPS+ of 186.
AL winner: José Abreu (CWS)
Abreu, along with Freeman, set the standard for 1B in 2020. Abreu posted a 2.8WAR. Throughout his 240AB, he had 76H, 19HR, 60RBI, and a slash line of .317/.370/.617 giving him a .987OPS and an OPS+ of 166.
NL winner: Donovan Solano (SF)
2B is one of those positions that is hard to find your guy and find someone to lock down the job. But Solano did just that for SF in 2020. Solano posted a 1.3WAR. Over his 190AB, he had 62H, 3HR, and 29RBI. Those numbers don't jump off the page at you, but his slash line will .326/.365/.463 posting a .828OPS and a 128 OPS+. He followed up a healthy 2019 with an incredible 2020
AL winner: DJ LeMahieu (NYY)
For a guy who went in the 41st round in 2007, then the 2nd round in 2009, LeMahieu has been nothing short of fantastic in his MLB Career. In 2020 LeMahieu also won the AL Batting title and posting 2.8WAR. Over his 195AB in 2020, he had 71H, 10HR, 27RBI. At the same time, slashing .364/.421/.590 with a 1.011OPS and a 177OPS+.
AL winner: Tim Anderson (CWS)
Anderson had a great 2020 posting a solid 2.2WAR. Over his 208AB, he had 67H, 10HR, and 21RBI. He slashes a .322/.357/.529 with an OPS of .886 and an OPS+ of 141.
NL winner: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD)
EL NINO! This man, much like some of the other youngsters on this list, is so good and is still so young. Tatis is only 20, and in 2020 he became one of the best SS in the MLB. Posting a 2.5WAR. In his 224AB, he had 62H, 17HR, 45RBI, 11SB. He slashed a .277/.366/.571 with an OPS of .937 and an OPS+ of 155. He has time and talent on his side as his incredible career is only beginning.
Both of these players are MVP finalist in the
NL winner: Manny Machado (SD)
Machado was fantastic in 2020, and he showed to be the leader of this team offensively and defensively. Machado posted a 2.8WAR while in his 224AB, he had 68H, 16HR, 47RBI. He slashed an impressive .304/.370/.580 with an OPS of .950 and an OPS+ of 158.
AL winner: José Ramírez (CLE)
Ramirez is one of those guys that once he gets hot, he stays hot. That is exactly what happened again in 2020 as this man continues to be fantastic, posting a 2.2WAR. In his 219AB, he had 64H, 17HR, 46RBI, and 10SB. He slashed an impressive .292/.386/.607 with an OPS of .993 and an OPS+ of 163. A fantastic season for Ramirez.
AL winner: Salvador Perez (KC)
After missing all of 2019 due to injury and 2020 missing time and playing in only 37 games, he still posted a 1.9WAR. In those 37 games, he made the most of his 150AB, getting 50H, 11HR, 32RBI while mixing in 1SB. He slashed a .333/.353/.633 and a .986OPS and 161OPS+. I am still hoping for a trade for the Vet to get back to the postseason.
NL winner: Travis d'Arnaud (ATL)
After an early battle with Covid-19 d'Arnaud, he was the vet catcher; he posted a 0.6WAR. In his 165AB, he had 53H, 9HR, 34HR, and also mixed in 1SB. He then slashed an impressive .321/.386/.533 with a .919OPS and 138OPS+. Great season at the plate!
NL winner: Marcell Ozuna (ATL)
Having the universal DH rule in the NL could not have turned out better for Ozuna. . Ozuna posted a 2.3WAR. In his 228ABhe had 77H, 18HR, and 56RBI. He slashed a .338/.431/.636 with a 1.067OPS and a 175OPS+; great season from Ozuna as his market will be strong this winter.
AL winner: Nelson Cruz (MIN)
As an M's fan, it is so hard to see Cruz keep killing it, not as a Mariner. Cruz continues to defy father time as he had 1.6WAR in 2020. Cruz had 186AB with 56H, 16HR, 33RBI. He slashed a .303/.397/.595 with a .992OPS and 169OPS+. Nellie is now a free agent seeking a 2yr deal and should also have a strong DH market.
Congrats to all the winners of the Silver Sluggers. Each of the awards was well deserved. Thank you guys for taking a look at the winners with me and seeing why each player won. Thank you for your time, and thanks for staying with me this winter!