Saturday, November 10, 2007

Polanco and Ordonez Win Silver Sluggers

Earlier in the week, Placido Polanco won the Gold Glove award for the first time and now he has won his first Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger award. Magglio Ordonez also earned a Silver Slugger for his 2007 performance. According to Jason Beck at MLB.COM, Major League Baseball coaches and managers select one player at each position in each league according to the following criteria:
Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value.
My first impression is I'm happy that OBP and slugging percentage are listed as two of the three key statistics rather than homers and RBI. I'm not sure whether that comes from Jason Beck or from Major League Baseball but it's good to see regardless. My next thought was that they seemed to get the awards right. Well almost.

The table below lists the American League runs created per game (RC/G) leaders at each position in 2007. The last column of the tables indicates whether or not they won the Silver Slugger. It turns out that my list matches the Silver Slugger awards at every position except one of the outfield positions. Curtis Granderson (7.8 RC/G) outproduced silver slugger Ichiro Suzuki (7.2 RC/G) but came away empty handed.

Granderson was benched against some left-handed pitchers and Suzuki never gets benched at all so I next looked at overall runs created (RC). Grandy won there by a narrower margin: 126 to 123. One could also make the case that Curtis was better than Vladimir Guerrero who had 7.7 RC/G and 119 RC. I'll also point out that center fielders play a somewhat more demanding position than corner outfielders and that offensive standards should be somewhat higher for corner outfielders.

My conclusion is that Granderson should have won the award over either Guerrero or Suzuki or both. It was not an egregious error but I think it was not the correct decision. It was the second time this week that Granderson was overlooked for an award as he also should have won a Gold Glove.


Table 1: American League RC/G leader at each Position in 2007

Pos

Player

Team

PA

RC/G

RC

Silver Slugger

C

Posada

NY

589

8.4

111

Yes

1B

Pena

TB

612

9.3

126

Yes

2B

Polanco

Det

641

7.0

105

Yes

SS

Jeter

NY

714

6.2

108

Yes

3B

Rodriguez

NY

708

9.7

154

Yes

OF

Ordonez

Det

679

9.5

142

Yes

OF

Granderson

Det

676

7.8

126

No

OF

Guerrero

LA

660

7.7

119

Yes

DH

Ortiz

Bos

667

9.5

136

Yes

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