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Vladimir Guerrero’s undeserved Silver Slugger award

Nov 12, 2010, 11:18 AM EDT

World Series Rangers Giants Baseball

Admittedly no one really cares about the Silver Slugger awards, so I’m not sure why I care enough to write about them, but Vladimir Guerrero being the pick at designated hitter is pretty clearly the wrong choice.

Guerrero had a good season, hitting .300 with 29 homers and an .841 OPS, but he just wasn’t the best DH in the league.

Compare his numbers to our Mystery DH:

               G      AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS    HR   XBH    RBI
Mystery DH    145    .270    .370    .529    .899    32    69    102
Guerrero      152    .300    .345    .496    .841    29    57    115

Mystery DH out-produced Guerrero by 25 points of on-base percentage, 33 points of slugging percentage, and 58 points of OPS. He also had three more homers and 12 more total extra-base hits.

Oh, and Mystery DH is David Ortiz.

So why did Guerrero win the award over a guy who topped him in OBP, SLG, OPS, homers, and extra-base hits? Well, the Silver Slugger is voted on by managers and coaches and the two categories that Guerrero topped Ortiz in are batting average and RBIs, which are obviously the epitome of mainstream numbers and the bastions of shallow analysis.

Beyond that Guerrero started hot and cooled down the stretch, while Ortiz struggled in April and then got hot. All of which means Guerrero spent most of the season with good-looking numbers and Ortiz spent most of the season building his numbers up after a bad start, likely shaping the perceptions of their respective seasons.

Again, no one really cares and it’s not a big deal, but the award still went to the wrong DH.

  1. apbaguy - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    This is the most commentary I have ever read about Silver Slugger awards, and the new information for me is that is another “voted on by managers and coaches” award, like the Golden Gloves.

    Which explains the quality of the choices.

  2. Jonny 5 - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Without seeing the numbers, I would have never guessed the big guy changed his season around that much. Good job Big pappi. It’s close enough to just shrug off.

    That’s why i don’t bitch about Polanco not getting the GG over Rolen. Polanco was better in just as many games, but Rolen got it. #8 was it?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:47 AM

      He actually had a pretty decent year. 3.8 fWAR, .380 wOBA. Amazing considering how atrocious he was in the first month or two. Of course, if he starts off just as bad next year, get ready for the same tired old columns that we read this April.

      • willmose - Nov 12, 2010 at 12:16 PM

        Could it be because he was hitting in a bandbox?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 12, 2010 at 1:08 PM

        Could it be because he was hitting in a bandbox?

        I don’t know. Let’s look at the numbers courtesy of bref.com

        H – .278/.386/.547 – tOPS+ 108 – 19 2Bs, 15 HR
        A – .264/.355/.513 – tOPS+ 93 – 17 2Bs, 17 HR

        So roughly 7-8% worse than he hit at home (34% decrease in SLG), similar power numbers in about 20 more plate appearances. Not exactly CarGo numbers…

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 12, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Most awards given I don’t agree with altogether. BA and RBI’s are two of the biggest no-biggie offensive stats in the game.

    • loweens - Nov 22, 2010 at 5:27 AM

      It’s pretty common that RBI’s are overhyped, but Batting Average? I think it’s still a useful statistic.

  4. hackerjay - Nov 12, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Of course you’re forgetting the DH with a .283/.412/.627 line with 25 homers and a 3.5 WAR (versus Ortiz’s 3.3 and Vlad’s 2.1): Jim Thome.

    Yeah, he didn’t have anywhere near that plate appearences as Vlad or Papi, but man, the ones he did have were way, way more productive.

  5. diamondduq - Nov 12, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    Ortiz also rated higher than Vlad in testosterone!

  6. oldtimefamilybaseball - Nov 12, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Which DH had the highest SLG? That would be Luke Scott. Yes, I’m as surprised as anyone else.

  7. dondbaseball - Nov 24, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Gleeman, really? You’re upset over Guererro over Ortiz for the Silver Slugger Award? Both are fine options with Guererro’s team winning the division while Ortiz’s did not make the playoffs. The difference isn’t that great and a DH should be producing runs which is what Vlad did. The main point really was highlighted that Vlad started well and looked good for most of the season while Papi did not start well and had all the negative publicity. Again, both had good years but don’t make it sound like a travesty that the Managers and players completely missed the boat on this. They didn’t.

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