We all wanted the Mariners offense to do better this year, there is no argument there. They did have some good hitters, though, and they deserve to be recognized. The Silver Slugger Finalists were announced for 2023, and the M's have three hopefuls for this years award. Julio Rodriguez in the Outfield, JP Crawford at Shortstop, and Cal Raleigh at Catcher.
Earning the nomination is one thing. Can any of these players actually win the award? For Julio, he is looking to win it back-to-back seasons, shooting to become the team's first back-to-back winner since Alex Rodriguez did it back in 1999/2000. I'll be listing each player's OPS+ and oWAR to give you an idea of how they did. It doesn't tell the whole picture, but for an award that is supposed to be valued solely on their offensive production, it gets you close.
Can Julio Rodriguez, JP Crawford, or Cal Raleigh win a 2023 Silver Slugger Award?
Let's start behind the dish with Cal. His competition is Adley Rutschman and Salvador Perez. Like Cal, Adley has never won the award. However, Perez is looking to take it home for the 5th time in his career. This is the second year in a row Adley and Cal have been nominated. Adley had a 4.6 oWAR this season with a 128 OPS+ and 20 homers. Cal had a 3.5 oWAR and just a 112 OPS+, but 30 bombs en route to 53 XBH. Perez finished with a 1.0 oWAR, a 94 OPS+, and 23 homers. It's going to be close between Adley and Cal, but in the end...
Prediction: Adley Rutschman wins the Silver Slugger
Then, we move on to shortstop. JP Crawford had a fantastic year, easily his best on offense, turning in one of the best seasons in 2023 from the position. JP tallied 19 HR and 35 2B, with a 131 OPS+ and 5.4 oWAR. JP was actually the second highest oWAR shortstop in baseball this season. He goes up against Bobby Witt Jr, who had 30 HR, 20 2B, and 11 3B with a 120 OPS+ and a 4.9 oWAR. As mentioned earlier, JP was only the second highest. The Last nominee is Corey Seager. You know, the World Series MVP who hit 33 HR and a league leading 42 2B in just 119 games, all while hitting .327/.390/.623 with a 170 OPS+ and a 6.4 oWAR. This one is easy, unfortunately.
Prediction: Corey Seager wins the Silver Slugger
We finish off with the outfield. This one is a bit different, since it is grouped together regardless of position. There are three awards to hand out to the seven finalists... so who is going to take it home?
Randy Arozarena (120 OPS+ and 3.1 oWAR)
Adolis Garcia (123 OPS+, 3.6 oWAR)
Aaron Judge (175 OPS+, 4.9 oWAR)
Luis Robert Jr. (128 OPS+, 4.4 oWAR)
Julio Rodriguez (128 OPS+, 5.8 oWAR)
Anthony Santander (121 OPS+, 2.8 oWAR)
Kyle Tucker (142 OPS+, 5.3 oWAR)
Judge is just a special player on offense. He only played in around 105 games, but that shouldn't take away what he did on offense. His oWAR isn't the highest, but it easily would've been in a full season. To me, Arozarena, Garcia, and Santander all had great seasons, but it isn't enough to win the award. That leaves Kyle Tucker, Julio, and Robert Jr. for the final two spots. Tucker probably gets the nod over Robert despite his lesser homers. Julio, I think, gets it for the body of work and stellar historic August.
Prediction: Aaron Judge, Julio Rodriguez, and Kyle Tucker win the Silver Slugger
What do you all think? Will any of the Mariners take home Silver Slugger Awards? Winners will be announced over on MLB Network on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the evening.