Rutschman and Henderson win AL Silver Slugger Awards

With just two Silver Slugger winners since the 2014 season, the Orioles doubled that total tonight as Adley Rutschman won the Silver Slugger Award for catchers in the American League and Gunnar Henderson was the winner in the utility player category.

It’s the most Silver Slugger wins for the Orioles since Adam Jones, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy won in 2013. It's the sixth time in team history the club had two or more winners.

Anthony Santander was an outfield finalist, but the winners were Kyle Tucker of Houston, Seattle's Julio Rodriguez and Luis Robert Jr. of the Chicago White Sox.

Rutschman, 25, hit .277/.374/.435/.809 this season with 31 doubles, one triple, 20 homers and 80 RBIs. Among the AL leaders he finished tied for third in walks, fifth in OBP and eighth in batting average. He joins Mickey Tettleton in 1989 as the only O’s to win a Silver Slugger for catcher.

"It's pretty cool," Rutschman said on the MLB Network telecast. "It's more a testament to my teammates and coaches that this has come to fruition, and it's a lot of hard work to get here. It means a lot and I'm very thankful."

Rutschman, an AL All-Star this season, reached base 257 times (163 H, 92 BB, 2 HBP), the most by a primary catcher in O's history. He became the 18th primary catcher in major league history to reach base that many times in a season, and the first since Minnesota’s Joe Mauer got on 266 times in 2012, per STATS. Rutschman's 42 multi-hit games led AL primary catchers and were second among major league catchers behind William Contreras (45) of Milwaukee.

The other catcher finalists in the AL were Salvador Perez of Kansas City and Cal Raleigh of Seattle.

Henderson, considered the favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year award next week, batted .255/.325/.489/.814 with 29 doubles, nine triples, 28 homers, 100 runs and 82 RBIs.

Henderson, voted 2023 Most Valuable Oriole by the media, became the first rookie in team history and 20th in major league history with 20 or more doubles, five or more triples, 20 or more homers, and 10 or more steals. He led big league rookies in bWAR (6.3), home runs (28) and extra-base hits (66), and led AL rookies in fWAR (4.6), triples (9), runs (100), RBIs (82) and total bases (274).  

Henderson is the first O's rookie to ever win a Silver Slugger. 

Said Henderson of his award on MLB Network: "To win a Silver Slugger my first full year, it's truly humbling. I can't thank everyone enough who voted for me to win this award. And first off I'd like to thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for allowing me to be in the position to win this award. And also I'd like to thank my family, coaches and teammates for the support they have given me throughout the year. It's truly an honor to be selected for this award."

The other utility finalists were Brandon Drury of the Los Angeles Angels, Isaac Paredes of Tampa Bay and Whit Merrifield of Toronto. 

Santander batted .257/.325/.472/.797 in 153 games with 41 doubles, a triple, 28 homers, 81 runs and 95 RBIs. Projected to get $12.7 million deal in arbitration, Santander turned 29 on Oct. 19.

He set career highs in hits (152), extra-base hits (70), doubles, runs and RBIs, and he tied his career high with 55 walks. His 70 extra-base hits tied Eddie Murray (1980) and Brian Roberts (2005) for second-most by an O’s switch-hitter behind Roberts’ total of 73 in 2009.

Santander became the first Oriole with 40 or more doubles in a season since Manny Machado (40) in 2016 and became the first O's switch-hitter with 95 RBIs since Bobby Bonilla (116) in 1996. His 61 home runs over the last two years lead all major league switch-hitters.

The Orioles now have had 15 Silver Slugger winners since the award’s first year in 1980. Before tonight the most recent winners were Mark Trumbo in 2016 and Cedric Mullins in 2021. 

Baltimore was one of three teams with multiple winners, along with Atlanta (Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, Austin Riley) and Texas (Corey Seager, Marcus Semien). Rutschman and Henderson become the fifth set of Orioles teammates to win the award in the same season, joining Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. (1983 and 1984), Ripken and Tettleton (1989), Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada (2004), and the Davis-Hardy-Jones trio from 2013. 

Orioles won't change how they handle DH
Henderson, Rutschman win Silver Slugger Awards

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