Five Dodgers are among the top finishers at their position for the 2023 Silver Slugger Awards, given annually to the top hitter at each position in each league. Included are all four Dodgers with 100 RBI this season, the first quartet in team history to do so.
First baseman Freddie Freeman and designated hitter J.D. Martinez are among the top vote-getters at their position, as are catcher Will Smith and third baseman Max Muncy. Mookie Betts is a candidate in both right field and utility, the latter recognizing multi-position players.
The winners of the Silver Slugger Awards will be revealed on Thursday, November 9 on MLB Network beginning at 3 p.m. PT.
Other top vote-getting outfielders in the National League are Ronald Acuña Jr., Cody Bellinger, Corbin Carroll, Kyle Schwarber, Juan Soto, and Seiya Suzuki. The top three will get Silver Slugger Awards.
At utility, the top four are Betts, Bellinger, Ha-Seong Kim, and Spencer Steer.
Freeman won three Silver Slugger Awards, all from 2019-21 with Atlanta, and was among the top three finishers at first base in the NL in 2022.
Other top vote-getters at first base in the National League are Atlanta’s Matt Olson and Pete Alonso of the Mets, but this is really a battle between Freeman and Olson, just like the two will jockey for position to see who finishes third and fourth in NL MVP voting.
Battle for NL Silver Slugger at 1B
Martinez had a fantastic season at the plate after signing a one-year, $10 million contract with the Dodgers, hitting .271/.321/.572 with 33 home runs, 103 RBI, and a 135 wRC+. But he faces stiff competition at DH, with these other top vote-getters at the position in the National League:
- Marcell Ozuna: .274/.246/.558, 139 wRC+, 40 HR, 29 doubles, 100 RBI, 84 R
- Bryce Harper: .293/.401/.499, 142 wRC+, 21 HR, 29 doubles, 72 RBI, 84 R
- Jorge Soler: .250/.341/.512, 126 wRC+, 36 HR, 24 doubles, 75 RBI, 77 R
Martinez has won Silver Slugger Awards in two seasons, but has three awards, and provides a rubric for how Betts might capture dual honors this year. Martinez won a Silver Slugger in the oufield with the Tigers in 2015, but in 2018 with the Red Sox won two Silver Sluggers — one each in the outfield and at designated hitter, the former despite starting only 37 games in the field.
Muncy led NL third baseman with 105 runs batted in this season, but he ranked second to likely Silver Slugger winner Austin Riley of Atlanta in home runs (36), runs scored (95), slugging percentage (.475), and wRC+ (118). Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado are the other top vote-getters at the hot corner.
Adrián Beltré was the last Dodgers third baseman to win a Silver Slugger Award, in 2004.
Smith struggled mightily in the second half but still was well above average at the plate, hitting .261/.359/.438 with 19 home runs and a 119 wRC+. Other NL catchers at the top of the heap are Sean Murphy, William Contreras, and J.T. Realmuto.
The last Dodgers catcher to win a Silver Slugger was Russell Martin in 2007.
Managers and up to three coaches from each team are the voters for Silver Slugger Awards. This year, there’s also a team Silver Slugger Award for the first time, which also includes fan voting as part of the process.
From Louisville Slugger, the originator of the Silver Slugger Awards, “Votes are based on a combination of offensive statistics including OPS, OPS+, home runs, RBI, batting average, total bases and runs as well as the managers’ and coaches’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.”
The Braves, who led the majors in runs scored and whose .501 slugging percentage is the best ever by a team, will win the award for the National League. The Dodgers, Phillies, and Padres are the other three “finalists.”