The MLB has announced the 2012 winners of the Silver Slugger awards, which are handed out to the league’s top offensive players in each position in each league. Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera led the way as he was the American League’s Triple Crown winner this season after leading the AL in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
The 29-year-old third baseman became the first player to win a triple crown since 1967 by belting 44 home runs out of the ball park to go along with 139 RBIs and a batting average of .330. The home runs and RBIs were both career bests for the Detroit star. This is the fourth time in his career that Cabrera has captured a Silver Slugger award.
He won one in 2010 while playing first base and captured two others while playing for the Florida Marlins of the National League. He won his award with Florida in 2005 as an outfielder and in 2006 as a third baseman.
Catcher Buster Posey of the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants won an award for the first time in his career after hitting 24 home runs and 103 RBIs to accompany his batting average of .336, which was this best in the Majors this season. This might not be the only award Posey takes home this year since he’s a favorite to capture the Most Valuable Player award in the National League.
Other National League Silver Slugger award winners were first baseman Adam LaRoche of the Washington Nationals, second baseman Aaron Hill of the Arizona Diamondbacks, third baseman Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres, shortstop Ian Desmond of the Nationals and Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Braun, who was the MVP in the National League last year and is also a finalist for the award this season, won his fifth consecutive award. He led the NL in home runs with 41 and added 112 RBIs while batting .319. The only other NL player in the group to win a silver Slugger award for at least a second time was second baseman Hill, who received one as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.
In the AL, Prince Fielder of the Tigers captured the award at first base while shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees were also winners. Fielder had previously won awards in 2007 and 2011 while playing with the Milwaukee Brewers. For Cano, it was his third-straight award and his fourth overall as he also won in 2006 and it was Jeter’s fifth overall.
A.J. Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox won the award at catcher while Billy Butler of the Kansas City Royals was the recipient at designated hitter. The outfield winners were Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers and Josh Willingham of the Minnesota Twins.
It was the third award for Hamilton, who also took the honors in 2008 and again in 2010.