The American and National League Silver Slugger finalists were announced today and the Cincinnati Reds landed four players on the list for the National League. First baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Jonathan India, and outfielders Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos were all named as finalists today for the award that is supposed to go to the best offensive player at each position.

Of course, we say supposed to because often enough that simply isn’t the case. Joey Votto, for example, has never won a Silver Slugger award despite overwhelmingly being the best hitting first baseman more than a few times in his career in the National League. All four of the players are looking for their first career Silver Slugger award.

Speaking of Joey Votto, he hit .266/.375/.563 with 23 doubles, a triple, 36 home runs, and 99 RBI this past season. He’s be going up against the Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and the Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy.

Jonathan India hit .269/.376/.459 this past year in his rookie season with 34 doubles, 2 triples, 21 home runs, 12 steals, and 69 RBI. At second base he’ll be trying to get the nod ahead of Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies, San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth, and Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Justin Turner….. who literally did not play second base one time this season. In fact, the last time Turner played second base for any amount of time that should be considered partial time there was in 2014 when he started 38 games there for the Dodgers.

In the outfield the Reds have both Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker vying for some hardware. Castellanos probably has the better case simply because Winker missed a bit of time at the end of the year that cost him some counting stats. Castellanos hit .309/.362/.576 with 38 doubles, a triple, 34 home runs, and 100 RBI in 138 games. Winker hit .305/.394/.556 with 32 doubles, a triple, 24 home runs, and 71 RBI in 110 games. If they are going to get the nod they will have to beat out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds, Braves outfielder, Adam Duvall, and Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

29 Responses

  1. Frankie Tomatoes

    Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos should win. Winker may have if he stayed healthy.

  2. scotly50

    “overwhelmingly being the best hitting first baseman more than a few times in his career”.

    Actually Votto has never led the League in hits. Just walks

    • Doug Gray

      I was unaware the being the best hitter meant you had the most hits. Could have sworn there was more to it than that.

      • scotly50

        Votto had 60 less hits than both Freeman and Goldschmidt. He will be a distant third. Turner will take the 2nd baseman award, Castellanos is the Reds best hope.

      • Doug Gray

        That’s fine.

        But having the most hits does not make you the best hitter.

      • scotly50

        I just reread your article, It escaped me that Justin and not Trea Turner was nominated. India may have a shot, but Albies looks like the front runner.

    • Alan Horn

      If anyone is better than Votto and India at their respective positions, it would be Freeman and Albies. If I had to pick one position player for the Braves it would be Albies. He is just the cog on the Braves. They are going to the World Series without Acuna. I wonder if they would have made it had Albies when down. They are loaded with talent on the infield. We probably have a better tandem of catchers and a better RF and LF with Acuna out.

    • Luke J

      Why do you keep focusing on number of hits? Of all the stats to look at to determine who the best hitter is, number of hits is pretty far down the list.

      • 2020ball

        Its actually worse than just looking at batting average, and thats saying a lot.

  3. Challenger

    Wonder how the nominees would rank if total bases was the measure. I agree that most hits is not the best measure of a hitter. The term “Silver Slugger” seems to imply something in addition to hits.

    • CFD3000

      Agree. Votto tops the first base list in slugging pct and OPS, and it’s not very close. Maybe this is finally Joey’s year.

  4. redsfan4040

    I think Votto should win 1b.
    India/Albies will be close at 2b.

    Outfield should go to Soto, Harper, and O’Neill.

    • CFD3000

      I think Soto and Harper are locks but Castellanos could be the third guy for the outfield.

    • Tomn

      I think India will be ROY and Albies gets SS. They both get an award and are both deserving. Live to see Votto win either SS or comeback player if the year but looks like the latter is going to Posey.

  5. Michael

    If Votto loses to Goldschmidt again I’ll lose my mind. He already lost to Votto lite once and freaking Rizzo

    • CFD3000

      The voting is a bit of a joke. How could you be literally the most valuable player in the league, but not the best hitter at your position? Votto’s award is long overdue.

  6. CFD3000

    Just looking at OPS, Votto was about 40 points higher than Muncy and Freeman, 60 above Goldschmidt. His counting stats are favorable too, despite missing 30 games. Since it’s a vote by managers and coaches anything can happen, but I’d say Votto has as good a shot as any. And since he made a bunch of headlines after the break maybe this is the year he gets this overdue award. But history suggests he’ll be denied yet again.

    Castellanos has a chance if they give out 3 in the outfield. No chance he beats Soto and Harper though. Winker and India can enjoy the nomination.

    Finally, are we SURE it’s Justin and not Trea Turner nominated at 2nd? I saw the official release but it makes way more sense that someone just screwed up and wrote down the wrong LA Turner. Either way it’s ridiculous. Justin obviously doesn’t deserve it, and Trea probably does but won’t win because of this ballot snafu. Gotta love MLB management!

    • Broseph

      Agreed, if anything Votto may have some sympathy from being snubbed time and time again from SS award, and with his headlines and comeback story and OPS becoming a bigger factor over other stats this may just be the year he gets it where it’s really anybody’s for the taking.

      But who knows, 2017 was such a horrible example of the atrocities in how winners are elected, that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Muncy won this year. Literally SS is the only award that has categories to use and Votto won 3 out of 4 against Goldy in 17.

      All that is to say, don’t be surprised if any outcome in the SS race

  7. old-school

    Its a hitting award so its important to remember its not about defense or WAR or speed. Its also a position award so the player has to be at that position by definition.
    Winker had a great year minus the injuries but he exits stage left.

    OF is pretty straightforward- Harper, Soto, and Castellanos. Old school power counting numbers of HR/RBI/Runs scored support those 3 . Finishing 1/2/3 in OPS should end the conversation, but newer analytics support those 3 as well with Harper blowing the OF competition away in wOBA and wRC+ with Soto comfortable separating himself at #2. O’Neill had a nice power year and a case for Reynolds over Castellanos could be made, but I think NC joins Soto and Harper.

    Votto is the interesting one. In old school power counting numbers he led all first baseman in HR and RBI. Votto’s OPS of .938 dwarfs his competitors and should support his award. But I think he wins The Silver Slugger for a unique reason- the analytics supported by his wOBA. Its a hitting award so his wRC+ is first too over his competitors and important.
    The bigger issue is what have Votto critics banged like a gong over the years? Its his contentment in taking a walk and HOW he gets on base and not that he got on base. Well, in 2021 Votto said it does matter HOW I get on base and I am eschewing the walk and going for power. The wOBA assigns value to how the player got on base and Votto wins this metric as well @ .391 with his competitors comfortable trailing.

    India wins based on wRC+ and wOBA and his importance in leading a good offense with 98 runs scored and the top 2nd baseman in OPS at .835 easily distancing the other candidates.
    If Turner wins, well, hes not a 2b and the award is fraudulent.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s an “offensive” award, so speed *should* matter. Stolen bases, baserunning value – those things should, but probably don’t matter.

      • old-school

        Per baseball Savant speed, India and Cronenworth in 2021 were both at 28.5 Ft/S and Albies was 28.4 with India 13 Sb, Cronenworth 8 and Albies 4….. so India wins again. Albies wins on home runs and Runs scored.

      • Doug Gray

        I mean, “top speed” isn’t of any value on it’s own. It matters how you use it. Fangraphs baserunning values has Ozzie Albies well out in front of Cronenworth (4 times as valuable), who is also significantly ahead of India (who actually had negative value).

        Of course, Fangraphs also still has India as the most valuable offensive second baseman in the NL even with that.

      • Luke J

        Wait, it’s an offensive award, but that doesn’t mean all aspects of offense are relevant. It’s a hitting award. So it falls under the umbrella if offense, but hitting doesn’t include baserunning. Silver slugger is supposed to only be about what you do at the plate.

      • Doug Gray

        I think you are a little confused (or maybe I am by your wording here), partially by my wording. It’s an offensive award. Baserunning is offense. The award is stated as going to the best offensive player at a position, not the best hitter. With that said, the people voting (managers and coaches) probably aren’t paying too much attention to the baserunning values (I feel confident here given that Justin Turner got named as a second base finalist despite not playing there for over a decade…..).

      • Danny

        Speed turns into extra basses and creates runs for your team. I think you made a WHOOPSY!

      • Doug Gray

        Nah. Sometimes speed turns into those things. Sometimes it doesn’t. Speed on it’s own isn’t valuable. Being able to use speed well – that’s good and valuable. But there are plenty of very good baserunners who provide tons of value because they are smart on the bases rather than just being faster than most guys.

      • Luke J

        According to Louisville Slugger, who gives out the award, the citeria state: “They base their selections on a combination of offensive statistics including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value. Managers and coaches are not allowed to vote for players on their own team.”

        I have never once seen baserunnibg ever mentioned in criteria for that award. I suppose it could be part of the “overall impression”, but can’t say I’ve ever seen that mentioned, nor does it really fit with the other listed criteria, nor the title of the award “slugger”. Base running is only considerd insofar as it results in more total bases and higher slugging percentage because of more doubles and triples. But not stolen bases.

      • Doug Gray

        “Overall offensive values” would, in theory at least, include baserunning value. On-base percentage and batting average don’t fit into the term “slugger”, either.

        Again – I doubt a single person voting is looking at it at all. But someone who actually took it seriously to vote would be looking at it because it should be looked at if as the award suggest, should go to the best offensive player rather than the best hitter.

  8. Bet on Red

    Kinda of a side tangent but there is a real chance that the ROY awards are coming to Cincinnati in two sports.