While there were some new faces among the American League Silver Slugger winners, announced Thursday, there was at least one familiar face among the winners. Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was named as the 2014 winner for the American League right fielders.
The win represents Bautista’s third Silver Slugger award and his first since 2011. It ties George Bell and Carlos Delgado for the Blue Jays team record for Silver Slugger wins, according to Shi David of Sportsnet.
For Bautista, it was a nice rebound season that will certainly garner him some MVP votes. After two injury-riddled campaigns, the five-time All-Star enjoyed one of his finest season, slashing .286/.403/.524 with 35 home runs, 103 RBI, 101 runs scored, and a 159 OPS+. Additionally, he kept his strike-outs at bay with 96 while walking just 96 times. Overall, Bautista was worth 6.3 wins above replacement in 2014, his highest total since 2011.
Despite his stellar efforts, the Blue Jays finished out of the playoffs for the 21st straight season, placing third behind the Baltimore Orioles, 13 games out of first place. While Bautista was his stellar self once again, he was unable to carry the load when fellow slugger Edwin Encarnacion was lost for over a month and the mounted injuries caught up to the Blue Jays line-up in August.
Along with Bautista, the other American League winners were Jose Abreu (1B), Jose Altuve (2B), Alexei Ramirez (SS), Adrian Beltre (3B), Yan Gomes (C), Michael Brantley (LF), Mike Trout (CF), and Victor Martinez (DH). Like Bautista, Trout, Beltre, and Martinez are multiple winners.