Given out since 1980, the Silver Slugger recognizes the best offensive players at each position in each league. The winners are voted upon by Major League managers and coaches, who are unable to vote for players on their own teams.
It’s officially Awards Season across the MLB landscape, also known as the week in which most of the planet forgets the Cincinnati Reds exist. Or, I should say, the week in which most of the planet forgets that Joey Votto exists.
The future Hall of Famer and greatest offensive force in the history of the franchise admittedly has a locker full of trophies for his conquests within the batter’s box over the last 13 years. Still, he’s been worthy of so much more hardware, and somehow keeps getting jobbed out of honors despite his prowess annually being unmatched.
He should have a second MVP award, for instance. He should also have up to five Silver Slugger awards, as Matt Wilkes of Reds Content Plus pointed out on Twitter.
Beating a dead horse here, but Joey Votto should've easily won multiple Silver Slugger awards by now. Could easily have at least five by now. pic.twitter.com/vjwhQyWRGR— Matt Wilkes (@_MattWilkes) November 11, 2021
Last night, Joey Votto was jobbed out of another one, losing to Freddie Freeman of Atlanta (who now has three such awards to his name).
Freeman is en route to Cooperstown in his own right and a tremendous, tremendous force in the game. He’s rightfully won a few of these things already, and while it’s all just a popularity contest to begin with - they are ‘voted on,’ not ‘won,’ really - it’s hard to ignore just how much is written about them after the fact. A quick search on Twitter or Google returns countless results about how Royals catcher Salvador Perez landed a ‘record’ 4th Silver Slugger, for instance.
Come Hall of Fame voting season - yet again a popularity contest and not something actually winnable - it again becomes a vote that many based on how things were voted on before first and foremost. How many MVPs did they win? How many Silver Sluggers? How many All Star Games, and how many Gold Gloves? All things that were popularity contests at the time again become popularity contests again, and the butterfly effect takes shape.
Look, Joey Votto has made his Hall of Fame case over a brilliant career, and it should be good enough on its own volition. He should also have a shitload more evidence in his favor already, though, and it’s hard to again see him post better OPS, more dingers, better wOBA, better wRC+ than the player who took home the hardware and not have more advocates in his corner. This isn’t a WAR or value award, either - it’s purely an offensive award, one whose latest omission is downright offensive yet again.
In other news, Nick Castellanos won his first career Silver Slugger last night, as well he should have. It was a simply marvelous year for Nick, and I can only hope it leads him into a winter of free agency where he finds exactly what it is he so desires. A combo of winning, atmosphere, money, and comfort, and a place where socking the crack out of baseballs gets to bring him joy for the remainder of his career. I’d love for that to be the team I spend my time covering, but since I spend so much time covering that team, I’d completely understand if he found better options elsewhere.
Thom Brennaman still thinks he’s a victim, which is embarrassing.
(No, of course I’m not linking to that Enquirer clickpiece.)
Over at FanGraphs, Kevin Goldstein gives a bit of a glimpse into what this week’s MLB GM Meetings look like, speaking from his previous experience being part of them.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand chimed in with his thoughts on those same meetings, noting what hints they might give on the would-be lucrative free agent market this winter. It appears the Cincinnati Reds are on the brink of a fire sale, which is both embarrassing and exactly what we all should have expected out of this franchise.
It’s Leatherpants, so take it with a grain of salt, but Leatherpants also thinks the Reds are about to sell it all off, listing Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray among starters he expects to move in his latest mailbag.
Doug Gray wrapped his list of the Top 25 prospects in the Reds system over at Reds Minor Leagues dot com. If the link prior to this link is true, though, the lone hope is that he’s going to have to do some serious updating to his Top 5 after the great influx of prospect talent, something we can get excited about for 2027 before the Reds tear it all down again in 2029 and rebuild for another decade.