Predictions for MLB National League Silver Slugger Awards

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Predictions for MLB National League Silver Slugger Awards

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Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 MLB Silver Slugger Awards will be announced within the week, as the off-season is officially upon us. The following are the predictions for every position in the National League and the 10 players that deserve a Silver Slugger Award.

Baseball has one of the more exciting off-seasons in all of sports with so much happening in a short span of time. Multiple awards will be given out in the ensuing weeks while several players will be gearing up for free agency.

It was a rather easy process this year to choose the Silver Slugger Award winners in the NL, as several big named players moved to the American League this past season. Not to mention, for the most part there was really only one player that stood out offensively at all 10 positions. The only prediction that was somewhat difficult was outfield, but the decision was based not only on the top offensive producers but on also what they were able to accomplish when given the most plate appearances.

Another common theme among the NL Silver Sluggers was that six out of the 10 players were on teams that clinched a postseason berth. Obviously, this is not a big surprise as these player’s offensive contributions played a big part in their respective team’s playoff chances. Two of the four Silver Sluggers who did not play for a playoff team just so happened to be a part of the top ranked offense in NL this past season.

Make sure to comment below if you agree or disagree with any of the predictions.

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First Base: Adam LaRoche

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Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals slugger Adam LaRoche did not have the top batting average (.271) among NL first baseman but he did have the most home runs (33) and was the only player to post 100 runs batted in. LaRoche was also first in hits (155), plate appearances (571), slugging percentage (.510), and OPS (.853). It is no wonder why the Nationals were the top seed in the NL this past season.

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Second Base: Aaron Hill

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Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill was the only player at his position to bat over .300, hit at least 25 homers and 85 RBIs this past year. Hill regained his offensive production this season after his numbers dropped off across the board in 2011. The 30-year-old displayed tremendous power for a second baseman in 2012 as he hit .302 with 44 doubles and 26 home runs.

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Third Base: Aramis Ramirez

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Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Third base is one of the more difficult decisions to make this season as several players performed at a high level. However, to me it is a no-brainer that Milwaukee Brewers slugger Aramis Ramirez deserves the award. Ramirez batted an even .300 with 27 home runs, 105 RBIs, and a Major League-high 50 doubles. Chase Headley may have hit four more homers and 10 more RBIs, but he batted .014 points less with 29 less doubles.

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Shortstop: Ian Desmond

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Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Ian Desmond of the Nationals is the easy choice in my book for the Silver Slugger award at shortstop. Desmond led the NL in home runs (25) and batting average (.292). He also posted the second most doubles (33) and RBIs (73). It may be true that Desmond had the least amount of at-bats and the most strikeouts among shortstops, but the fact he was still able to have the top power numbers overrules that in my opinion.

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Outfielder: Ryan Braun

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Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

If there is one player that deserves the Silver Slugger Award over everyone else, it is Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun. Braun led all NL left fielders in batting average (.319), hits (191), home runs (41), runs batted in (112), runs scored (108), on-base percentage (.391), slugging percentage (.595), and OPS (.987). Braun also ranked third in games played (154), plate appearances (598), doubles (36), and stolen bases (30). Braun has won four Silver Slugger Awards in a row and a fifth one this year will tie Barry Bonds’ record for most consecutive awards.

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Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen

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Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen led all center fields in batting average (.327), home runs (31), RBIs (96), runs scored (107), and hits (194). His 132 strikeouts are definitely a concern for the Pirates going forward, but no one can deny that his incredible offensive performance in 2012 should garner him his first career Silver Slugger Award.

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Outfielder: Matt Holliday

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Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

The last outfielder spot was certainly a tough decision, but the fact Matt Holliday hit 27 home runs, 102 RBIs, 36 doubles, and batted .295 is the reason he deserves the award. Not to mention, he was a huge part in the St. Louis Cardinals success down the stretch as they made another impressive postseason run.

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Catcher: Buster Posey

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Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Like Braun, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is a heavy favorite to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award. Also like Braun, he is a shoo-in for a Silver Slugger Award in 2012. Posey won the NL batting title with a .336 average, while he also smacked 24 home runs, 39 doubles, and 103 RBIs. Posey may have slowed down a bit in the playoffs, but there is no question he was a big part of the Giants’ World Series run.

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Pitcher: Mike Leake

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Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake is one of only two pitchers to hit two home runs in 2012 and batted a very impressive .295 in 61 plate appearances. It should be noted that Leake also had three doubles, three RBIs, and eight runs scored.

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