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.

18 Responses

  1. Greenfield Red

    It’s a little hard to understand that trade with Minny. The Reds were clobbered in 2015 and 2016 in all those trades for “major league ready” talent. Everyone they traded for had a fatal flaw in their game that couldn’t be fixed or an injury, hidden or not, that couldn’t be fixed, which resulted in the Reds getting nothing in return for quality players in a pennant chase.

    It was for this reason the Tyler Mahle trade was the only one I questioned in 2022. Yet here we are, only one year later, with Steer and CES looking like corner stones of the franchise while Mahle gave the Twins exactly nothing in return.

    A head scratcher for me.

    • old-school

      And don’t forget they traded the 3rd player in the trade- Hajjar- with a low level A pick in Boyd who was injured much of the year for Benson. Mahle, Hajjar, and Boyd netted Steer,CES, and Benson.

      Steer certainly gives the Reds a nice RH bat for years to come to pair with McLain/CES/ and Marte. It does look like Steer will be in the LF quite a bit next year.

    • DaveCT

      Jockety was data averse, to say the least. Williams and Krall were/are not.

      Also, BA had an article up a little bit ago about teams becoming much better at identifying players to go after in trades.

  2. Mark Moore

    Would be quite the feather in young Spencer’s cap.

  3. Melvin

    Don’t know if he’ll win it or not be he has to be the MVP of the Reds this year.

  4. Rick

    I’d like to see him win one, at the same I’m glad that he made the list, recognition.
    30 hr, 100 rbi’s in 2024 is my expectation for him. I hope that he plays a lot of LF so that his reps will allow him to become a good defensive outfielder.

  5. DaveCT

    Silver Slugger finalist as a rookie is pretty darn impressive.

    Silver Slugger winner as a rookie, even more so.

  6. wkuchad

    I guess McLain didn’t have enough at-bats to qualify for 2B or SS? Otherwise he should have definitely been a finalist.

  7. Votto4life

    Well deserved. I hope Spencer Steer is a Red for a very long time. Excellent trade by Nick Krall.

    • TR

      Spencer Steer is a solid ballplayer. He reminds me of one of my favorite Reds of many years ago, Grady Hatton.

  8. CFD3000

    Good for Spencer Steere. But my takeaway is even more – good for the Reds. As much potential and good work as we saw from Matt McLain, EDLC, CES, Noelvi Marte and Wil Benson plus Spencer Steere there is room for every one of them to contribute more next year, and in some cases a lot more. Whether that’s by staying healthy a full season, by addressing some holes in their game (especially EDLC), by just being on the major league roster a full season, or perhaps by finding a more consistent position (Steere) every one of these very promising players could easily contribute a lot more in 2024 than in 2023. And that’s exciting. As good as Steere and the rest were, it’s easy to imagine them all getting better! Can’t wait. Pitchers and catchers in 3 1/2 months.

    • Melvin

      Was Steer ever on the IL? Seems pretty durable.

  9. TR

    Spencer Steer reminds me of one of my favorite Reds of many years ago, Grady Hatton.

  10. LT

    The most understated, under-hyped, under the radar rookie. Hope he wins.

  11. Mario

    I heard Seattle is interested in Steer. Would you trade him straight up for one of their starting pitchers- Castillo, Kirby, Woo, etc? I would not. I would much prefer the team use the free agent route for pitching. No need to make trades when they have plenty of money to spend.