Ten of the 18 team members were recognized as Silver Slugger winners for the first time, including Buster Posey, catcher for the World Series® Champion San Francisco Giants and winner of the NL batting title. Two players made the team for the fifth time – the American League’s shortstop, Derek Jeter of the Yankees, and the National League’s Ryan Braun, leftfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National leagues in 2012. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams. Tabulation of the balloting was verified by the accounting firm of Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP.
Among the teams represented by this year’s winners, the Nationals, Yankees and Tigers each had multiple Silver Slugger Award winners. Not only do the Nationals have three members on the National League team, but all are also first-time award winners – Adam LaRoche at first base, Ian Desmond at shortstop and Stephen Strasburg at the pitcher position.
For the American League, the Yankees’ Jeter received his fifth award at shortstop and Robinson Cano his fourth award at second base. The Tigers had two members on the American League Team including Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera at third base with his fourth Silver Slugger award and Prince Fielder with his third award at first base, but first in the American League.
Other first-time Silver Slugger Award winners included: Mike Trout of the Angels and Josh Willingham of the Twins, both in the outfield, A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox at catcher and Billy Butler for the Royals at designated hitter for the AL. The remaining first-timers for the NL include Chase Headley at third base for the Padres and both Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates and Jay Bruce of the Reds in the outfield.
The NL recognized Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks at second base, his second award.
2012 Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Winners
1B – Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
2B – Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
3B – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
SS – Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
OF – Mike Trout, L.A. Angels
OF – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
OF – Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins
C – A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox
DH – Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals
1B – Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals
2B – Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks
3B – Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
SS – Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
OF – Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
OF – Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds
C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
P – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
All 18 awards were inside MLB Network’s Studio 42 for the Silver Slugger Award Show. Each trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league. After the 2012 Silver Slugger Award Show, the awards will be sent back to Louisville where the public can see all 18 on display over the winter at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The specially designed Silver Slugger Awards will be presented to each player in on-field ceremonies early in the 2013 season.
The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by Louisville Slugger in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat Award, which is – as its name indicates – a silver-plated bat presented by Louisville Slugger to the batting champions in the AL and NL. This year’s Silver Bat Award winners are Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Posey of the San Francisco Giants. Cabrera hit .330 to claim the AL batting title. Posey won the NL batting title with a .336 average.
Both will receive their Silver Bat Awards in on-field presentations in the spring.