Thursday, November 12, 2015

Why Brantley Should Have Won a 2015 AL OF Silver Slugger Award

tonight, on November 12, MLB Network revealed the winners of Louisville Slugger's 2015 Silver Slugger Awards.

photo courtesy of @MLBNetwork twitter

right at the top of the show, they unveiled the American League Outfield winners. Michael Brantley was one of five top candidates in the category, but sadly did not take home the hardware this year. instead, the Silver Sluggers for AL outfielders in 2015 were given to Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners, and J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers. (Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays was the other finalist who did not win.) Trout is a center fielder, Cruz is a right fielder/DH, and Martinez is a right fielder.

these players all had remarkable seasons, i'm not trying to state otherwise. my problem here lies
within the rules regarding OF winners. this honor is awarded to three outfielders regardless of the position they play. not every OF position is required to be represented annually and i just don't care for that. i mean, when you think about it, it's not quite fair for 1 player to be compared to the entire outfield of his league in order to win a Slugger award. they don't do this with the infield. you don't see 1st basemen or 3rd basemen left out because two shortstops and two 2nd baseman performed better than them. this is a stupid stipulation in my opinion and they should change it so that each position has a winner.

had a left fielder been guaranteed one of these awards, Michael would have won his 2nd consecutive Silver Slugger Award this year, hands down. and his numbers for 2015 prove it. among qualifying left fielders in the American League, Michael ranked:
--1st in extra base hits (60), doubles (45), RBI (84), intentional walks (8), total bases (254), batting average (.310), OBP (.379), SLG (.480), OPS (.859), fWAR (3.8), and wRC+ (135)
--2nd in hits (164), singles (104), walks (60), and BsR (1.4)
--tied for 2nd in sac flies (5)
--3rd in stolen bases (15), plate appearances (596), and at bats (529)
--tied for 3rd in games played (137)
--4th in runs (68)
--tied for 7th in home runs (15)
additionally, he ranked 4th out of 4 qualifiers with the least amount of strikeouts (51).

here's a little background on this accolade for you. Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award is Major League Baseball's top offensive honor. four members of every major league team's coaching staff vote for the players they believe to be the best offensively at "each" fielding position in both leagues, plus the DH in the AL and pitcher in the NL. however, these managers and coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own team. the offensive statistics taken into account when voting for this award include a player's batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. another important factor is the value a player brings to his team offensively, as determined by managers and coaches.

created by Hillerich & Bradsby--the Louisville Slugger bats' manufacturer--the Silver Slugger Award was instituted in 1980. it's an extension of the Silver Bat Award, a silver-plated bat given to the batting champions in the AL and NL by Louisville Slugger. this award is 3 feet long and features the winner's name engraved on it, along with the other Silver Slugger winners from each position in their respective league.

so, sorry to you Michael for being robbed of an award that i believe you absolutely should have won. you kicked ass among left fielders AND outfielders despite all the adversity you faced and i am very proud of you! <3

do you guys think they should change how OFs are awarded? let me know in the comments below!

the complete list of 2015 Silver Slugger Award winners can be found here.

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