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. The Game Haus will be spotlighting each position and 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 the 2018 Silver Slugger team for the National League.
National League Silver Slugger Team
1. First Baseman: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Between Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar, the first baseman position is a pitcher’s nightmare in the National League. But Goldschmidt is in the on the hottest streak of the three right now. Not only does the long-time Diamondback lead the position in home runs, but he also the most explosive in the last 30 days. In that span, Goldschmidt has tallied nine home runs and 22 RBIs. He has also boasted a .376 batting average in that window. His 2018 numbers include 33 home runs, 83 RBI’s and a .299 batting average.
No disrespect to what Aguilar or Freeman has accomplished this season. But Goldschmidt is making the biggest push for the annual honor.
2. Second Baseman: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
Javier Baez is working on a career year from the batter’s box this season. Baez has hit career highs in home runs, batting average, runs batted in and slugging percentage. He also leads all NL second basemen in slugging percentage, home runs hit and runs batted in. On top of that, he is the first third baseman in the NL to record 100 RBI’s in 2018. To call this a breakthrough season for number nine is an understatement. But Baez will need to keep the motor running high to help the Chicago Cubs remain as the top dog in the NL Central.
3. Third Baseman: Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds
The third baseman position has equally deserving candidates in Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter and Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez. But Eugenio Suarez looks stronger than most are willing to see. Yes, Matt Carpenter has gone yard more times. Yes, Nolan Arenado has the better batting average and has tallied more runs batted in. But Suarez leads the trio in runs batted in. Not to mention his 32 home runs and .291 batting average in 2018 is not to be overlooked. Number seven can be a sure sign of better things to come for the Reds organization.
4. Shortstop: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are looking to take the NL West. Though we’re used to seeing Nolan Arenado taking names, it’s his fellow teammate, Trevor Story, in the midst of a breakthrough season. Story has tallied career highs in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Not to mention #27 leads his position in both home runs and RBI’s by significant amounts. In his last 30 games, Story has cashed in seven home runs and 17 RBI’s, along with a .311 batting average. The Rockies better take advantage of the momentum the 25-year old is building for them.
5. Left Field: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Speaking of breakthrough seasons, Christain Yelich has been blowing up in 2018. The new Milwaukee Brewer has helped himself to 28 home runs (career high) and 86 RBI’s this season. He also boasts a .315 batting average and has hit for the cycle this past August. In his last 30 games, he has tallied 11 home runs and 27 RBI’s. The offensive one-two of Yelich and Aguilar has made 2018 a season to enjoy for Milwaukee fans. Perhaps the change of scenery worked out better for Yelich than most predicted. But number 22 needs to keep at it to help the Brew Crew grab a National League playoff spot.
6. Center Field: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
The second Rocky to grace the list, Charlie Blackmon is picking up where he left off last season. Blackmon leads all NL center-fielders in home runs this season. In addition, he holds a .282 batting average and 61 RBI’s to his name. He may not be on pace for career highs. But that should not take away from his production this season. The Rockies organization better make good with Blackmon, Arenado, and Story in their camp. If they can’t, a brutal off-season awaits in the near future.
7. Right Field: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Say what you will about number 34. His batting average may leave much to be desired. But when Bryce Harper makes contact, it is a sight to behold. Harper leads his position in home runs and RBI’s this season. Plus his batting average has been improving significantly in his last few outings. The reigning Home Run Derby champion has belted 21 RBI’s in his last 30 games and boasts a .307 batting average in that span. The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, are not where they want to be in the National League East. But with Harper and Max Scherzer in tow, Washington has what it takes to bounce back.
8. Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins
Arguably the best player on the Marlins roster, J.T. Realmuto is turning into a force to be reckoned with. J.T. has 20 home runs this season. He also leads all NL catchers in batting average and runs batted in. On top of that, Realmuto has hit a career high in home runs and batted in from this season’s outing. Marlins fans (good luck finding one) don’t have much to root for this season, and morale is at an all-time low. But J.T. Realmuto’s leadership can help ease the pains of this season for the clubhouse.
9. Pitcher: Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds
Not many pitchers are known for batting prowess. But Michael Lorenzen has made surprising noise from the batter’s box. Lorenzen has tallied four home runs and nine RBI’s this season (both lead all NL pitchers). He also holds a .308 batting average to his name. Not to mention that all three statistics are career highs from number 21.
Featured image courtesy of The Redbird Daily
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