Since its inception in 1980, the Silver Slugger Award has recognized the best offensive players at each position in baseball. It has also added to the resumes of both American and National League players each year. Batters at each position will be spotlighted who will very likely walk away with the hardware for this season.
Here, a starting lineup will be constructed, solely based on offense, for each league. Here is our 2018 Silver Slugger team for the American League.
2018 AL Silver Sluggers Team
1. First Baseman: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
The groove Jose Abreu found in 2014 has certainly come back in 2018. Not only did number 79 make this season’s All-Star team, but he also leads all American League First-basemen in runs batted in. His 22 home runs and .272 batting average from this season are nothing to sneeze at either. His batting average is only getting higher, averaging .322 in his last 30 games. Though White Sox fans do not have much to root for, Abreu’s return to form can be a sight for sore eyes.
2. Second Baseman: Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have several things working in their favor this season. One of which is rookies like Gleyber Torres bursting onto the scene. In his first year of big league ball, Torres has belted 22 home runs and 66 RBIs. Plus, his batting average is improving, averaging a .340 in his last 15 games. This brings his season batting average to .277. Be on the lookout for the young pinstripe in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation as well.
3. Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Francisco Lindor is on his way to career highs from the batter’s box this season. Lindor leads all AL shortstops in home runs hit. He also boasts a .283 batting average and 80 RBIs. Lindor, however, is currently fighting through a slump, averaging a meager .215 batting average in his last 15 games. But if number 12 can shake off this cold streak, he will be back to dealing serious damage to opponents’ bullpens like he has before. ESPN projects that the 24-year-old will bank career highs in home runs and RBIs before the regular season’s end.
4. Third Baseman: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
For the third base Silver Slugger Award, it was a tough call between Houston’s Alex Bregman and Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. But Bregman’s recent hot streak cannot go unnoticed. In his last 30 games, number 2 has recorded seven home runs and 25 RBIs. He also boasts a .360 batting average in that span. His season numbers include 29 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .298 batting average. Though Ramirez has belted significantly more home runs, Bregman has a noticeably higher batting average.
5. Left Field: J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have played almost every single card right in 2018. J.D. Martinez is a big reason why Boston is so feared on offense. Number 28 has 39 home runs and 115 RBIs under his belt this season. He also boasts a .335 batting average. J.D. Martinez has already hit career highs in batting average and RBIs from this season, making him the easy favorite for the left field Silver Slugger Award. With a couple more adjustments to his swing and he could lead the American League in home runs, too.
6. Center Field: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
No doubt one of the best players of today’s game, Mike Trout remains the face of the Angels organization. This season, Trout leads all AL center-fielders in home runs. He also dawns a .305 batting average and over 60 RBIs in this year’s campaign. The six-time All-Star has made his argument the best to ever play center-field today. The rest of the Los Angeles Angels’ organization will have to pull itself together, or else number 27 may want out of LA.
7. Right Field: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
In addition to the numerous milestones he has hit this season, Mookie Betts has turned into a two-way threat for Boston. Betts leads his position in both home runs and RBIs. His 71 RBIs in 2018 are more than solid as well. Betts is well on his way to grabbing yet another Silver Slugger trophy. He and J.D. Martinez have anchored the Red Sox offense well in 2018, and we could see number 50 with another Golden Glove as well.
8. Catcher: Evan Gattis, Houston Astros
Often overlooked among names like Springer, Altuve and Correa, Evan Gattis is Houston’s secret weapon. Gattis leads all AL catchers in both home runs and RBIs this season. His batting average isn’t stellar, however, sitting under .240 for the season. But as a power hitter, number 11 is a force to be reckoned with. Take him lightly, and the 32-year-old will take you deep into the stands with his bat.
9. Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
One of the premier power hitters of today’s game, Nelson Cruz still has a lot to say in his 14th season in the majors. Cruz leads all designated hitters in home runs, RBIs and batting average this season. The 38-year-old has also tallied 18 RBIs in his last 30 games. ESPN projects that number 23 will belt 39 home runs and 98 RBIs before the regular season ends.
Featured image courtesy of NBC Sports
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