A new day brings us to the latest announcement on award recipients, as opposed to just the finalists.
It’s got to be one or the other this time of the year.
The Silver Sluggers will be dispensed tonight beginning at 6 p.m. on MLB Network, which is condensing the show into one hour. Less filler.
Orioles' catcher Adley Rutschman and outfielder Anthony Santander are finalists.
Toronto’s Alejandro Kirk, Oakland’s Sean Murphy and Seattle’s Cal Raleigh are the other finalists among catchers. The outfielders are New York’s Aaron Judge, Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, Los Angeles’ Mike Trout and Taylor Ward, Toronto’s Teoscar Hernández and George Springer, Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena, Houston’s Kyle Tucker and Texas’ Adolis Garcia.
Managers and coaches vote on the award.
Center fielder Cedric Mullins won a Silver Slugger in 2021, more recognition for becoming the first 30/30 player in franchise history.
Mark Trumbo received the award in 2016. The Orioles haven’t won it in consecutive seasons since Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada in 2004 and Tejada in 2005. There haven’t been multiple winners in the same year since Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones in 2013.
Rutschman graduated from baseball’s No. 1 prospect to batting .254/.362/.445 with 35 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 113 games. A late start due to a strained right triceps didn’t prevent him from also being a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Rutschman led the Orioles and American League catchers with a 5.3 WAR per FanGraphs.com. Murphy had a 5.1 fWAR, Raleigh 4.2 and Kirk 3.8.
Kirk slashed .285/.372/.415 with 19 doubles, 14 home runs, 63 RBIs, 63 walks and 58 strikeouts in 139 games. Murphy batted .250/.332/.426 with 37 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs and 66 RBIs in 148 games. Raleigh batted .211/.284/.489 with 20 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs and 63 RBIs in 119 games.
Santander appeared in 152 games and batted .240/.318/.455 with 24 doubles, 33 home runs and 89 RBIs. His list of career highs included 55 walks that ranked second on the team behind Rutschman’s 65.
Judge can make room in his home for his third Silver Slugger. Trout already has won eight, and he totaled 28 doubles, two triples, 40 home runs, 80 RBIs and a .999 OPS this season in 119 games.
Santander’s 33 homers ranked third among AL outfielders, and his 89 RBIs tied Arozarena for fourth. His .773 OPS tied for seventh.
Three outfielders receive the award with no designation for specific positions. Doesn’t have to be left, center and right.
The Silver Slugger has been awarded since 1980. Mullins, Judge and Hernández were the AL outfield recipients last year.
Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray were the first Orioles to win it in 1983, on the last championship team. They repeated the following year.
Ripken holds the club record with eight, all at shortstop. Catcher Mickey Tettleton joined him in 1989.
Shortstop is the most prolific Silver Slugger position among the Orioles, with Miguel Tejada winning twice and Hardy once.
* The 40-man roster was reduced by one player yesterday and got back to the previous total later in the afternoon, with the Orioles declining pitcher Jordan Lyles’ $11 million option for 2023 and claiming outfielder Daz Cameron off waivers from the Tigers.
Thirty-four is going to become 35 today with the Orioles activating left-hander John Means from the 60-day injured list.
The Orioles’ website lists eight outfielders on the 40-man roster, with Terrin Vavra a designated hitter for some reason.
Pick a position. Infield seems to make more sense, but he also plays the outfield.
The outfielders are Cameron, Mullins, Santander, Jake Cave, Yusniel Diaz, Austin Hays, Ryan McKenna and Kyle Stowers. The Orioles used to have six catchers on the 40-man but are down to two. They grab players they like on the waiver wire and later might try to pass them through waivers.
* One question from this week’s mailbag sought clarification on the duties of offensive strategy coach, the title given to former upper-level hitting coordinator Cody Asche.
Asche told the media in yesterday’s video call that he’ll be an asset to co-hitting coaches Ryan Fuller and Matt Borgschulte, and hopefully “in-game wise” to manager Brandon Hyde and bench coach Fredi González.
“Have contact with the front office and the analysts and just really kind of be, hopefully, a jack of all trades and just be there to support and help our hitters get better,” he said.
“I just feel really fortunate and am excited that the front office believes in me and trusts me to be around their major league assets. And they trust me to help our team get better.”
Asche’s five seasons as a major league player can be an asset.
“I think that just helps diversify our coaching staff just a little bit, to where I can just be a voice in the room with Fuller and Borgs and help them understand things that maybe they haven’t gone through,” he said. “So ultimately, the message we deliver to the player is the best that we can give them.”