Daniel Murphy won his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award this evening, deemed once again the best offensive second baseman in the National League.
Murphy was the only Nationals player to win a Silver Slugger this season, despite dominant offensive performances by several teammates. Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon, though, lost out at their respective positions to Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, respectively, while Bryce Harper’s case was hurt by the 6 1/2 weeks he spent on the disabled list.
Murphy, who earned his first career Silver Slugger last season, led all NL second basemen this year in batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.543), doubles (43) and OPS (.928). He ranked second to the Reds’ Scooter Gennett in home runs (23) and RBIs (93).
Murphy compiled those numbers while playing through a right knee injury late in the season. The veteran second baseman had microfracture surgery last month and isn’t assured of being ready to return for the start of the 2018 season.
Both Zimmerman and Rendon had strong cases for their own Silver Slugger Awards, but each was the victim of a better performance at his position. Goldschmidt matched Zimmerman with 36 homers and trailed slightly in batting average (.303 to .297), but bested him in RBIs (120 to 108) and OPS (.966 to .930). Arenado, meanwhile, led all NL third basemen with 37 homers, 130 RBIs and a .959 OPS.
Harper’s 1.008 OPS, meanwhile, was best among all NL outfielders with at least 400 plate appearances. But the knee injury that sidelined him from mid-August until late September prevented him from compiling counting stats in other categories that wound up being bested by others. The three outfielders selected to win this year’s awards wound up being the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, plus the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon.
Voting for Silver Sluggers is done by managers and coaches from each league, with ballots submitted before the start of the postseason.