Admittedly no one really cares about the Silver Slugger awards, so I’m not sure why I care enough to write about them, but Vladimir Guerrero being the pick at designated hitter is pretty clearly the wrong choice.
Guerrero had a good season, hitting .300 with 29 homers and an .841 OPS, but he just wasn’t the best DH in the league.
Compare his numbers to our Mystery DH:
G AVG OBP SLG OPS HR XBH RBI Mystery DH 145 .270 .370 .529 .899 32 69 102 Guerrero 152 .300 .345 .496 .841 29 57 115
Mystery DH out-produced Guerrero by 25 points of on-base percentage, 33 points of slugging percentage, and 58 points of OPS. He also had three more homers and 12 more total extra-base hits.
Oh, and Mystery DH is David Ortiz.
So why did Guerrero win the award over a guy who topped him in OBP, SLG, OPS, homers, and extra-base hits? Well, the Silver Slugger is voted on by managers and coaches and the two categories that Guerrero topped Ortiz in are batting average and RBIs, which are obviously the epitome of mainstream numbers and the bastions of shallow analysis.
Beyond that Guerrero started hot and cooled down the stretch, while Ortiz struggled in April and then got hot. All of which means Guerrero spent most of the season with good-looking numbers and Ortiz spent most of the season building his numbers up after a bad start, likely shaping the perceptions of their respective seasons.
Again, no one really cares and it’s not a big deal, but the award still went to the wrong DH.