The best hitters in baseball get awarded once a year, when their bats are casted in silver (not literally) to commemorate their excellence.
The MLB awards a Silver Slugger to the best hitter at each position and those awards were finally announced on Thursday night.
Here are the Silver Slugger winners for the National League in 2019.
The Atlanta Braves clearly had a great offense this season, finishing with a league-best three Silver Sluggers.
Ronald Acuna Jr. was by far their most impressive player, as the 21-year-old outfielder hit .280/.365/.518, with 41 home runs and 101 RBIs.
If it wasn’t for an injury at the end of the season, Acuna would have joined the 40-40 club for having 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases, as he swiped 37 bags.
It is no surprise that Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon all took home Silver Sluggers, as they are all finalists to be named the NL MVP.
Bellinger has been awarded twice this week, as he also won a Gold Glove for his play in right field.
Zack Greinke and J.T. Realmuto join Bellinger for being the other two players that swept their position, taking home both the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove in the National League.
Now let’s take a look at the other league and the Silver Sluggers that were announced for the American League this season.
There were plenty of first-time winners in the AL, with Carlos Santana, DJ Lemahieu, Alex Bregman and Mitch Garver all taking home their first Silver Sluggers.
Garver was joined by his teammate Nelson Cruz in receiving the award, as the duo was part of the potent Minnesota Twins offense that led the league in home runs.
Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and Xander Bogartes each took home their third Silver Sluggers, despite their team’s overall disappointing season.
Still, the talk of the American League should always be about Mike Trout, as we are watching one of the greatest players who ever lived right in front of our eyes.
Trout has now won the Silver Slugger for a remarkable seventh time, in just eight seasons at the big league level.
Barry Bonds has the most Silver Sluggers in MLB history at any position for the 12 he won in the outfield.
Trout could conceivably pass him before his 35th birthday, as there is no slowing down in sight for the two-time MVP.
If he does accomplish that feat, Trout would still have four years left on his current contract to pass Bonds for the most Silver Sluggers in MLB history.
Cody Bellinger Wins First Career NL MVP
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the best team in the National League during the regular season, winning an NL-best 106 games.
There is no way the Dodgers would have that much team success if it weren’t for their best player having a career year, as Cody Bellinger was incredible in 2019.
Bellinger already won his first career Gold Glove Award for his defense in right field and a Silver Slugger for his offense, but now he has received the ultimate validation being named the National League Most Valuable Player.
Bellinger was clearly emotional after winning the award, as there is truly no higher honor a player can receive for their own performance.
Bellinger hit .305/.406/.629, with 47 home runs, 115 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.
According to Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) stat, Bellinger was the most valuable player in baseball with a league-leading 9.0 WAR.
This is just the first MVP of Bellinger’s young career, but at just 24 years old, it certainly may not be his last.
Mike Trout Wins Third AL MVP
Mike Trout should be the MVP every year, as there is no doubt he is the best player in baseball.
Coming into this season, Trout had won two MVP’s and finished as the runner-up three times, with his only other full season ending in a top-5 finish in the MVP race.
Trout’s greatness sometimes goes unrecognized by voters, as they try to honor other players when they have a career year. This time however, the voters got it right and rewarded Trout with his third MVP.
Trout was second in the American League in home runs and ninth in RBIs, despite being hurt at the end of the season and playing just 134 games.
You can make the argument that Trout is already a Hall of Famer, after winning his third MVP and putting together an historic eight-year stretch.
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien were the other two finalists for MVP, finishing second and third respectively.
Bregman fell just 20 points shy of Trout in the MVP voting, after finishing fifth in the MVP voting last season.
This year, Bregman set career-highs with 41 home runs and 112 RBIs, while leading the American League with 119 walks.
Unfortunately for Bregman, Mike Trout was simply better and will likely continue to dominant the MVP voting in the American League for a very long time.
Jacob DeGrom Wins Second-Straight NL Cy Young Award
Over the last two seasons, there simply has been no pitcher in baseball better than New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom.
In 2018, deGrom led the MLB with a sparkling 1.70 ERA, en route to his first career Cy Young Award.
While the numbers were not quite as incredible this past season, deGrom still proved to be the best pitcher in the National League and was once again named the NL Cy Young.
DeGrom becomes just the 11th pitcher in MLB history to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards and the first to do so with a Rookie of the Year on their resume as well.
Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver was the only other pitcher in MLB history to have multiple Cy Young Awards and a Rookie of the Year, but he never won Cy Young’s in consecutive seasons.
DeGrom clearly earned this award after finishing 2019 with a 2.43 ERA and an NL-leading 255 strikeouts.
Over the past two seasons, deGrom has pitched to an MLB-best 2.05 ERA and has racked up 524 strikeouts, as he is in the company of only Hall of Fame pitchers who have achieved that level of dominance.
For a pitcher that did not make his MLB debut until he was 26 years old, deGrom all of sudden appears to be on a Hall of Fame trajectory.
There is just no way anyone could have seen this coming back in 2014, when deGrom was just trying to stick in the big leagues.
Now deGrom is a three-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young Award winner and a $100-million pitcher after signing a five-year, $137.5 million deal last offseason with the Mets.
He is just one year into that contract, but so far deGrom has been worth every penny.
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