The Silver Slugger Award goes to the top offensive player at each position in each league, and it’s just a fun extra nod to stand in contrast to – or in conjunction with, if you’re really quite good! – the Gold Glove Awards. To be honest, I didn’t expect to see any Chicago Cubs players involved in the discussion this year, since the offense frequently languished, the team was broken up at midseason, and the only really huge bust out was Frank Schwindel for only two months.
Among the announced finalists today, there is a Cubs name after all. Good for Patrick Wisdom:
1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR), Yuli Gurriel (HOU), Matt Olson (OAK)
2B: Marcus Semien (TOR), Jose Altuve (HOU), DJ LeMahieu (NYY), Jorge Polanco (MIN)
3B: Rafael Devers (BOS), José Ramírez (CLE), Kyle Seager (SEA)
SS: Carlos Correa (HOU), Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Tim Anderson (CWS), Bo Bichette (TOR)
OF: Cedric Mullins (BAL), Teoscar Hernández (TOR), Aaron Judge (NYY), Kyle Tucker (HOU), Mitch Haniger (SEA), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR), Hunter Renfroe (BOS), Randy Arozarena (TB)
C: Salvador Perez (KC), Mike Zunino (TB), Gary Sánchez (NYY)
DH: Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Yordan Álvarez (HOU), Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), Joey Gallo (NYY), Nelson Cruz (TB)
1B: Freddie Freeman (ATL), Joey Votto (CIN), Paul Goldschmidt (STL), Max Muncy (LAD)
2B: Ozzie Albies (ATL), Jonathan India (CIN), Jake Cronenworth (SD), Justin Turner (LAD)
3B: Austin Riley (ATL), Manny Machado (SD), Nolan Arenado (STL), Patrick Wisdom (CHC)
SS: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD), Brandon Crawford (SF), Trea Turner (LAD), Willy Adames (MIL)
OF: Juan Soto (WAS), Nick Castellanos (CIN), Bryce Harper (PHI), Bryan Reynolds (PIT), Adam Duvall (ATL), Jesse Winker (CIN), Tyler O’Neill (STL)
C: Buster Posey (SF), Will Smith (LAD), J.T. Realmuto (PHI), Omar Narváez (MIL)
P: Germán Márquez (COL), Max Fried (ATL), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Madison Bumgarner (AZ)
Wisdom, who set the new Cubs rookie homer record after his surprising age 29 season, is also a finalist for the Players Choice Outstanding Rookie award. From our discussion there, which applies here:
Overall, Wisdom hit .231/.305/.518 with a 115 wRC+, while playing solidly above-average defense at third base (and chipping in at first and in the outfield). It was clearly a successful year.
Now, then, whether he can continue to be successful with a strikeout rate that touches 40%, well, that’s a conversation we’ve had many times. I tend to think it’s not realistic, and expecting significant improvement on that front – without losing the extreme power that makes him playable – at age 30 is probably a long-shot. He just has a huge hole in his swing at the top of the zone. The discipline is pretty good. It’s just that his swing, the very thing that makes his power so impressive, comes with a big hole.
Keep Wisdom on the roster? Absolutely. Anticipate that he’ll work his way in next year? Absolutely. Foreclose other opportunities this offseason because of his presence? No. Tolerate him as the starting third baseman into next year if it was because the Cubs made other massive additions in the rotation and at shortstop and in the outfield? OK, fine. I’d be good with that.
I don’t reckon Wisdom will win this one, but it’s always nice to be included. The Silver Slugger Award winners will be announced on MLB Network on Nov. 11 at 5pm CT, and are voted on by managers and coaches.