The Silver Slugger Award finalists have been announced and the Cincinnati Reds had a player make the final group at their position. Well, sort of. Spencer Steer was named a finalist as a utility player, which technically isn’t a position. But with where the game has gone over the last decade or so, more and more players are on the field every day but not at the same position. It made sense to create a utility player Silver Slugger Award for guys like Steer who were out there every day but not tied to one position – this is an award about what a guy does at the plate, not what he does in the field at a given position.
Spencer Steer played in 156 games in 2023 with Cincinnati. He racked up 665 plate appearances in the process and hit .271/.356/.464. With that slash line came 37 doubles, 3 triples, 23 home runs, 74 runs scored, 86 runs batted in, and he stole 15 bases in 18 tries. His OPS came in at .820 on the season – that was good for an OPS+ of 119 (which is just OPS but adjusted for the ballparks that a guy played in during the 2023 season).
It won’t be easy for Steer to win the award, though. His competition is Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, and Ha-Seong Kim. That, however, isn’t the full story. Both Betts and Bellinger are also finalists for the Silver Slugger Award as outfielders where they had enough time to quality. If they win the award as outfielders they can’t double things up. That could leave it to Steer and Kim. The Padres infielder hit .260/.351/.398 with 23 doubles, 17 home runs, 84 runs, 60 runs batted in, and he had 38 steals. His OPS was .749 and his OPS+ was 110. Steer has an advantage in every category at the plate, with Kim having the advantage in runs scored and steals.
If Bellinger and Betts are not winners as outfielders, things change quite a bit. Bellinger hit .307/.356/.525 with 29 doubles, a triple, 26 home runs, 95 runs scored, 97 runs batted in, and he stole 20 bases in 556 plate appearances over his 130 games with the Cubs. His .881 OPS and his 133 OPS+ are both better than what Steer put up. Betts should have it locked up if he’s eligible as a utility player as he hit .307/.408/.579 with 40 doubles, a triple, 39 home runs, 126 runs scored, 107 runs batted in, and he had 14 steals. His .987 OPS and 163 OPS+ are both easily the best among the group, as are his 39 home runs, 126 runs scored, and 107 RBI.
The winners will be announced next week. MLB Network will have a special at 6pm ET on Thursday, November 7th.