Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion was the favourite coming into today to win his first Silver Slugger Award today. The award, which is appropriately a silver-plated Louisville Slugger bat replica, is granted to the best offensive player at each position in each league. Encarnacion was the best offensive designated hitter in the American League in 2012.
However, Major League coaches and managers decided to award the Silver Slugger to Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler. Butler had a great season, hitting .313/.373/.510 with an OPS+ and wRC+ of 140, hitting 29 homers and 107 runs batted in. He accumulated 3.2 WAR in 138 games at DH and 20 games at 1B. He was selected to the All-Star Game, and was greeted loudly by his hometown crowd. Congratulations Billy! Even though I think Encarnacion was a better choice for the honour, Butler had a tremendous season as well.
Encarnacion had a breakout year in 2012, hitting .280/.384/.557 while hitting a career-high 42 home runs and driving in 110 runs. His OPS+ and wRC+ were 152, and he was worth 4.4 fWAR and 4.6 brWAR as a designated hitter. His plate discipline improved, swinging at just 21% of balls outside the strike zone, 9 percentage points better than his rate in 2010, leading to an increased walk rate.
He was in a tight race for the American League Home Run King title with Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 697 PA), Josh Hamilton (43 HR, 636 PA), Curtis Granderson (43 HR, 684 PA), and Adam Dunn (41, 649 PA), ultimately finishing fourth in the league with 42 HR in 644 PA. His injuries down the stretch slowed him down in the race.
Edwin Encarnacion Does Not Win Silver Slugger Award
Bluebird Banter | Nov 8