Nationals Lead the Field With Three Silver Slugger Awards

By Timothy Holland

Three members of the Washington Nationals have won Louisville Silver Slugger Awards. They are first baseman Adam LaRoche, shortstop Ian Desmond and pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The award is given to the man considered to be the best hitter at his position. The three Silver Slugger Awards won by Washington were more than any other MLB team.

LaRoche won his Silver Slugger Award by finishing with a .271 batting average, 33 home runs and 100 RBI. He led the Nationals in home runs and RBI. LaRoche was second on the team in hits behind third baseman Ryan Zimmerman with 155. This is LaRoche’s first Silver Slugger Award. He won his first Gold Glove for defensive excellence last week.

With two major awards under his belt, LaRoche should get serious consideration for NL Most Valuable Player. He was the best player at his position on offense and defense. LaRoche was Washington’s best player and helped lead them to their first ever NL East title. What more can anyone ask for from a player?

Desmond won the award for shortstops with a .292 average, 25 home runs and 73 RBI. He finished third on the team in hits with 150. Desmond’s numbers could have been better, but a lower back injury led to him being put on the disabled list for 15 games in July. The Silver Slugger is Desmond’s first major award. He made his first NL All-Star team this past season as well.

Strasburg and all of the Nationals pitchers took great pride in their hitting. They competed day after day to see who would finish with the highest batting average, most home runs and most runs driven in. Strasburg tied with Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman with one home run each. Strasburg led the team’s pitchers in RBI with seven. He tied Edwin Jackson for most hits with 13. However, when it came to average Strasburg was far and away the leader at .277. Jackson was second as he finished at .228.

Before LaRoche, Desmond and Strasburg, Washington had only two players win Silver Slugger Awards. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano won one in 2006. Ryan Zimmerman won back to back Silver Slugger Awards in 2009 and 2010. Now the Nationals infield can boast three men who are considered to be among the best hitters in the game.

In a season where Washington won more games than any other team with 98, won the NL East and made its first ever playoff appearance the awards are starting to accumulate. Next up is outfielder Bryce Harper for Rookie of the Year, Davey Johnson for Manager of the Year and Gonzalez for the Cy Young Award.

Let’s hope that they join their Silver Slugger teammates.

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