Mariners News: Nelson Cruz wins Silver Slugger Award


Nelson Cruz was awarded with a Silver Slugger on Thursday night by Louisville Slugger and Major League Baseball. Tonight’s Silver Slugger Award was the first in Cruz’s 11-year career.

Louisville Slugger hands out their Silver Slugger Awards annually to the most productive hitters in each league. The American League winners in 2015 included Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve. The National League winners were highlighted by Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt.

The Seattle Mariners entered 2015 with huge expectations, and they failed miserably. Jerry Dipoto replaced Jack Zduriencik as general manager in September, and skipper Lloyd McClendon was given his walking papers after the season ended. However, in the midst of all the disappointment, the Boomstick flourished.

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Cruz led the big leagues with 40 home runs during his time with the Baltimore Orioles in 2014. Many anticipated that number would drop dramatically playing his home games in the pitchers paradise known as Safeco Field. However, Cruz proved the skeptics wrong, launching 44 dingers and making the All Star team in his debut season with the M’s.

The Dominican Republic native posted a .302/.369/.566 slash line across 152 games. Cruz tallied 22 doubles, 1 triple, 93 RBI and swiped 3 bases. He led the M’s in nearly ever statical category, including walks (59) and runs scored (90). Cruz would have generated some serious AL MVP buzz had it not been for the Mariners lackluster season.

The M’s were noticeably lacking a power threat in the middle of their order during the 2014 season. The M’s signed Cruz to a 4 year deal worth $57 million dollars last December in an effort to solve this issue. After playing just one season in Seattle, Cruz is arguably the greatest free agent signing in franchise history.

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The four time All-Star brought the fun factor to the M’s this past season. I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time in the Mariners’ clubhouse in August, and no one was having a better time than Nelly. The 35-year-old always has a smile on his face, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Cruz does a fantastic job interacting with fans in person at the stadium, and online via social media. He is a difference maker on the field, and in the clubhouse.

I am very optimistic that the middle of the M’s order will rebound next season. Hopefully Robinson Cano will be the guy who dominated in the second half, and Kyle Seager will take the next step towards stardom. If Cano and Seager can have strong seasons, Cruz should have another big year.

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I think Nelly will play an instrumental role next season in bringing postseason baseball back to the Emerald City for the first time since 2001.