|Spoiler alert: Miguel Cabrera took home a Silver Slugger. (US Presswire)|
Who were the best offensive players at each position for 2012? The Silver Slugger Awards attempt to answer that question, at least according to the opinions of major-league managers and coaches.
Thursday night on MLB Network, the 2012 American League and National Silver Slugger winners were announced, so here's a rundown (with each player's total number of Silver Sluggers, counting this season, in parentheses) ...
C - A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox (1)
1B - Prince Fielder, Tigers (3)
2B - Robinson Cano, Yankees (4)
3B - Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (4)
SS - Derek Jeter (5)
OF - Mike Trout, Angels (1)
OF - Josh Hamilton, Rangers (3)
OF - Josh Willingham, Twins (1)
DH - Billy Butler, Royals (1)
C - Buster Posey, Giants (1)
1B - Adam LaRoche, Nationals (1)
2B - Aaron Hill (2)
3B - Chase Headley, Padres
SS - Ian Desmond, Nationals (1)
OF - Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (1)
OF - Jay Bruce, Reds (1)
OF - Ryan Braun, Brewers (5)
P - Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (1)
Complaints Department ... Sure, a chunk of Edwin Encarnacion's production came while he was manning (read: standing near) a position, but he's pretty clearly more deserving of DH Silver Slugger honors than Butler. You could nitpick that Joe Mauer was more productive than Pierzynski on a rate basis, but you could counter that Pierzynski logged almost twice as many innings behind the plate. No outrage there.
Over in the NL, you can easily make the case that, say, Matt Holliday, Corey Hart, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Gonzalez each merited an outfield spot ahead of Bruce. But Bruce's selection, while dubious, falls short of "indefensible." On the positive side, it's nifty to see all those first-time winners.
Up next for awards season? The big boys ...