Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, first baseman Adam LaRoche and pitcher Stephen Strasburg tonight were named recipients of the 2012 National League Louisville Silver Slugger Awards for their respective positions. Desmond, LaRoche and Strasburg each won the coveted Silver Slugger for the first time.
Washington paced MLB with three Silver Slugger recipients (only the Tigers and Yankees had two) and matched the Nationals’ combined total from their initial seven seasons (2005-11) in D.C.
Desmond hit .292 with 33 doubles, 25 homers, 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases this season in the best offensive effort of his career. Along the way, Desmond paced all big league shortstops in home runs, slugging percentage (.511) and OPS (.845).
Desmond’s 25-homer effort in ‘12 trumped his career output (22) entering the year and established a new mark for Washington-based (1901-71, ‘05-present) middle infielders.
Seventeen of Desmond’s 25 home runs came in the season’s first “half” and he earned All-Star status for the first time. He then proceeded to hit .308 after the All-Star break and became the Nationals’ second 20-homer, 20-stolen base player (Alfonso Soriano, 2006) and played an integral role as the Nationals ended D.C.’s 79-season postseason drought.
LaRoche led all MLB first basemen with a career-best 33 home runs and 69 extra-base hits in a fantastic two-way campaign that included a .271 batting average, 35 doubles, a career high-tying 100 RBI, 67 walks and an .853 OPS. LaRoche’s 155 hits, 29 go-ahead RBI and 15 game-winning RBI also established career highs.
LaRoche joined Ryan Zimmerman (2009) and Adam Dunn (2009, ‘10) as the only Nationals to register 30-homer, 100-RBI campaigns since the club arrived in The District in 2005.
After winning the first Rawlings Gold Glove of his career last week, LaRoche is one of only four big leaguers (2B Robinson Cano, 3B Chase Headley, OF Andrew McCutchen) to win both a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove this season. LaRoche also joins Zimmerman (2009) as the only Nationals to win both of baseball’s ultimate individual hitting and fielding awards in the same year.
Strasburg hit .277 (13-for-47) with four doubles, a home run (May 20 vs. BAL off Wei-Yin Chen), seven RBI and three walks for the Nationals in 2012. He paced MLB pitchers in doubles and on-base percentage (.333), while ranking among MLB leaders in batting average (second), slugging percentage (second, .426), OPS (second, .759), hits (tied for third), RBI (tied for third) and homers (tied for fourth).
NATIONALS TO WIN LOUISVILLE SLUGGER SILVER SLUGGER AWARD (2005-12)
* 2006: OF Alfonso Soriano
* 2009: 3B Ryan Zimmerman
* 2010: 3B Ryan Zimmerman
* 2012: SS Ian Desmond, 1B Adam LaRoche, RHP Stephen Strasburg