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.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.