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Friday November 13, 2009 10:17 pm

AL Silver Sluggers announced with few surprises




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, Kudos, MLB,

DescriptionThe American League Silver Slugger Award winners were announced recently, and six of the nine selections came out of the East, which further goes to show just how powerful – literally – this division is. The New York Yankees had repeat winners in Mark Teixeira at first-base and Derek Jeter at short. The Boston Red Sox’s Jason Bay was honored with his first, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria at third, and the Toronto Blue Jays each had first-timers with Aaron Hill at second and Adam Lind as the designated hitter. The rest of the league squeaked in Joe Mauer, catcher for the Minnesota Twins with his third, and Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners and Torii Hunter from the Los Angeles Angels in outfield, with their third and first, respectively.

Jeter’s stats look feeble compared to other AL sluggers, but in regards to the rest of the shortstops, Jeter’s award comes without a doubt. He led all shortstops with 18 home runs, and with 212 hits, Jeter was the only one to even crack the 200-mark. His 66 RBI was tied for fourth, two behind Alexei Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera, each of whom were clearly within reach. His average (.334) and on-base percentage (.406) were also each tops among AL shortstops. The argument in baseball that Derek Jeter has ever been worthy of a Gold Glove is still very much debatable, but even the most anti-New York fan has to admit that the aging Yankee can swing the bat.

Hunter, known primarily for his defensive skills and speed in the outfield, was chosen for his first Silver Slugger nod after belting 22 home runs and driving in 90 this past season. This is notable because of the fact that Hunter is 35 years old. There’s a lot said about the “downside” of a player’s career once he reaches his mid-30s, and Hunter has just given evidence to the contrary with his 2009 season. Hunter was consistent throughout his 119 games, achieving career-highs in average (.299) and on-base percentage (.366). Hunter has nine-straight Gold Glove Awards, and added to that is one-straight Silver Slugger.

North of the border in Toronto, the Blue Jays and their fans will be celebrating the dual-successes from second baseman Aaron Hill and DH Adam Lind. Hill, who suffered a season-ending concussion early in 2008 was also the AL Comeback Player of the Year, putting up dominating numbers, including 36 home runs – absolutely shattering Roberto Alomar’s all-time record for a Blue Jay second baseman – with 108 RBI. Combined with Lind’s 35 and 114 RBI were one of the only high points of an otherwise abysmal season for Jays fans, who had to deal with the first-place team in baseball falling to their worst record in years, talk about trading ace Roy Halladay, a clubhouse implosion during the final days of the season, and a GM-firing, just to name a few things. The selections of Lind and Hill to an already-impressive Silver Slugger rosters puts a fine polish on a very successful 2009 MLB season.

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