The season is over, with the Texas Rangers beating the Arizona Diamondbacks to earn their first World Series title. Now, the focus is on free agency. Until then, the individual awards take place with MLB releasing their finalists for 2023 Silver Slugger Award.
Last year, two Orioles were finalists: Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander. Both of them are finalists this year, plus the phenom and AL Rookie of the Year favorite, Gunnar Henderson.
Without further ado, a breakdown for the Orioles' finalists and his peers in each position.
Adley, most times the second batter in the lineup (and a leadoff stint), played better in his first full season. He finished with a .277/.374/.435 slash line, 20 Home Runs, 80 RBI with a 128 OPS+. His counterparts are the four-time winner, Salvador Perez (KC), and Cal Raleigh (SEA). Both had more round trippers than Adley (23 and 30, respectively), but it's the only stat better than our #35. If voters see more than Home Runs, Rutsch should be chosen as the AL Silver Slugger for catchers.
Orioles' winner (catcher): Mickey Tettleton (1989)
Like Adley, Tony Taters is one of the finalists for outfielders. He doesn't repeat his 2022 level, but finish strong (28 HR/95 RBI, .797 OPS, 122 OPS+). Different from last year, he'll compete against six players: Luis Robert Jr (CWS, second on AL OF with 38 HR), Kyle Tucker (HOU, almost a 30/30 season), Aaron Judge (NYY, 2x winner), Julio Rodriguez (SEA, 2022 winner), Randy Arozarena (TB, 20/20 season) and Adolis Garcia (TEX, leads AL OF with 39 HR). Only Robert wasn't a finalist last year. The bar is set high.
Orioles' winners (outfield): Cedric Mullins (2021), Mark Trumbo (2016) and Adam Jones (2013)
The newest category, included in 2022, for players who can handle more than one position all year. And Gunnar Henderson checked this box. The third baseman/shortstop was a fierce with the bat. Even with a slow start, he blossomed since the start of May and finished the season in second in Orioles history in Home Runs (28) in a full rookie season (.814 OPS, 125 OPS+). Can he bring in a new accomplishment in an Orioles uniform? His competitors are: Brandon Drury (LAA, first ever winner), Isaac Paredes (TB, 30+ HR season) and Whit Merrifield (TOR).
Hey, Birdland: in your opinion, who will be the winner, or winners, in the 2023 Silver Slugger Awards?