silver bats for awesome cats


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers are really raking in the shiny this year. Silver Slugger awards are out, and once again the Tigs have some pretty good representation.

Your AL Silver Slugger winners:

C Jorge Posada, Yankees
1B Carlos Pena, Devil Rays
2B Placido Polanco, Tigers
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF Vlad Guerrero, Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
OF Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox

Not bad. I think we could’ve had Carlos Guillen in at shortstop over Jeter (.840 OPS for Jeter, .859 OPS for Guillen) but they were pretty close and Jeter did have a better regular batting average, so, accepting that these awards are kind of silly and a bit flawed overall, it’s not a bad choice.

Curtis Granderson, though, seems to have gotten overlooked again. Good as Ichiro was, his .827 OPS pales in comparison to the .913 OPS that Granderson put up on the year, and since both of them had batting averages over .300 I’d put more weight on the other numbers. It seems ridiculous that someone could have the kind of year that Granderson had, both in the field and at the plate, and not have any hardware to show for it. The poor guy’s gonna have to bat .400 and play defense like a giant human Venus fly trap and save an orphanage full of children from a host of mutated locusts before he gets the recognition he deserves (outside of Detroit, I mean… here in Michigan we certainly all recognize the full scope of his gloriousness).

But hey, two Tigers getting Silver Sluggers ain’t half bad, and the two who did get them were both richly deserving. Nobody can argue against Magglio’s inclusion here, not with his league-best batting average and his 1.000+ OPS and his flowing locks of mighty fashion and hitting prowess. To argue against Magglio winning a batting award is to argue against batting itself.

Polanco rounded out his incredible year with his second metal-encased baseball equipment award in only a few days. While it’s a little frustrating to see Granderson denied these things, it is AWFULLY nice to see Polanco getting the recognition that he definitely earned this year. It still boggles my mind that we were able to snatch him away from the quirkly embrace of the Phillie Phanatic with such relative ease. Polanco hasn’t just been a serviceable second baseman for the Tigers: he has been a snood-wearing snazzy-fielding sharp-hitting awesomely-grimacing seemingly bottomless source of skill and entertainment for us all.

I mean, OK, they did need to free up Chase Utley, and it’s not like he’s played poorly for them since they managed to give him starting time. Still. Polanco, you know, = love.

It’s also worth mentioning that Carlos Pena got his very first Silver Slugger award this year, and it was well earned (his 1.038 OPS was actually BETTER than Magglio’s still incredibly impressive 1.029, to give you some perspective on the kind of season he had). I always said that Carlos always had the raw ability to be a good hitter, and all he needed was consistency over an entire season. This year he finally found that consistency. It’s too bad that it took him until he got to Tampa Bay to figure his business out; it would have been very sweet for the Tigers’ investment in him to be rewarded by a good season in Detroit, but I’m happy for him nonetheless (…and of course it’s easier to be happy for him since the Rays didn’t really pose much of a threat during the season).

7 responses to “silver bats for awesome cats

  1. This has all been said before, but the other two crazy things about that Polanco trade were they chose David Bell over him (since Polly sometimes played third in Philly) and there were Tiger players who were upset when they traded Uguey.

  2. Though, to be fair, I was upset at the trade too because I had hoped Infante would get more of a shot to be the everyday second baseman.

  3. Blah, I miss Pena more than he deserves. :P

  4. I have to wonder if your Granderson line was at least somewhat affected by the infamous Dave Barry line: “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”
    Still, yeah, what else does the poor guy have to do… Rollins had basically the same season in about 100 more plate appearances, and got his hardware (though, to be fair, there’s certainly much less competition among NL shortstops).

  5. The Granderson-Ichiro comparison is a good one. Ichiro is a great hitter, but his selection over Curtis has more to do with his reputation and less to do with his offensive contributions.

  6. Matt, the PLAYERS were upset when they traded Urbina? I thought after that plane incident the players were glad to see the back of him…well, except for Pudge, but we all know why Pudge was sad about seeing him go.
    Evan, I said “this year” not “of the year”. :P I KNOW OF WHAT I SPEAK. ISH.
    PfP, I kind of do too. I DEFINITELY miss his defense at first… man, that dude could play some mighty butt-saving D.
    Jeff, it wasn’t, although I’ve obviously heard that line before. I just tried to think of the most heart-wrenching thing Granderson could do to get himself in the national eye. :)
    Leshnock, yeah, the reputation thing is killer for these awards (lookin’ at you, Pudge). Hopefully in a few years of continued excellence Granderson will have got himself such a rep!

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