At 38, Derek Jeter wins 5th Silver Slugger Award

Elsa

Derek Jeter won his fifth Silver Slugger Award, and so did Ryan Braun, who made it five straight. And it was a nice day for the Washington Nationals, who grabbed three of the National League's nine Silver Sluggers.

Thursday night, Major League Baseball revealed this year's Silver Slugger Awards, given to the players judged the best hitters at their positions in each league. First, the American League:

D. Hitter: Billy Butler (Royals)
Catcher:
A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox)
First base: Prince Fielder (Tigers)
Second base: Robinson Canó (Yankees)
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (Yankees)
Third base: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers)
Outfield: Mike Trout (Angels)
Outfield: Josh Willingham (Twins)
Outfield: Josh Hamilton (Rangers)

Hey, Billy Butler's the first Royal to win a Silver Slugger since ... Dean Palmer in 1998? Is that really possible? Mike Sweeney never won a shiny metal bat? Nope, never did. Too many heavy-hitting first basemen in the American League. Oddly, their best candidate since 1998 might have been Alex Gordon, just last year. But these guys did give Gordon a Gold Glove this year. So anything more would be ... uncouth. It might be churlish to mention that Butler probably was not, in fact, the American League's most productive DH. That was probably Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion.

Next, the National League Silver Sluggerzzz:

Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)
Catcher:
Buster Posey (Giants)
First base:
Adam LaRoche (Nationals)
Second base:
Aaron Hill (Diamondbacks)
Shortstop:
Ian Desmond (Nationals)
Third base: Chase Headley (Padres)
Outfield: Andrew McCutchen (Pirates)
Outfield: Jay Bruce (Reds)
Outfield: Ryan Braun (Brewers)

First, let's recall that the guys who vote for the Silver Sluggers are the same guys who think Adam Jones is a better center fielder than Austin Jackson. I'm just saying. So perhaps we can excuse them -- on the grounds of rank incompetence -- for preferring LaRoche instead of Joey Votto, and Jay Bruce instead of Giancarlo Stanton and a dozen other guys.

Strasburg didn't get to pitch in October, but he did garner the first-ever Silver Slugger Award given to a pitcher. And he deserved it, leading N.L. starting pitchers with a 759 OPS.

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