Big Papi, Xander Bogaerts, and Mookie Metts Win Silver Slugger Awards

Red Sox news release…

BOSTON, MA—David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, and Mookie Betts have received 2016 American League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards at designated hitter, shortstop, and outfield, respectively. The announcement was made tonight by Louisville Slugger on MLB Network.

The Red Sox are the only team in either league with as many as three Silver Slugger honorees in 2016. This is the third time the club has featured three winners in a single season, having also done so in 2005 (David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek) and in 2011 (Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz). Boston has been represented on the AL Silver Slugger Team in 14 of the last 16 seasons since 2001; Red Sox players have won 41 Silver Sluggers in the award’s 37 years of existence (1980-2016).

Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of managers and coaches who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National leagues in 2016. They were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.

This is the seventh Silver Slugger honor for Ortiz (2004-07, 2011, 2013, 2016) who broke a tie with Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez (six apiece) for the most in Red Sox history. He holds the record for most Silver Slugger Awards by a designated hitter, tied for seventh-most for any position in the award’s history.

At 40 years old, Ortiz won the Hank Aaron Award this season as the American League’s most outstanding offensive performer after leading the majors in doubles (48), slugging percentage (.620), and OPS (1.021), each for the first time in his career. He played in more games (140) and recorded more at-bats (527) at designated hitter than any other player, also leading the majors in batting average (.319), on-base percentage (.403), slugging percentage (.630), runs (79), hits (168), doubles, home runs (38), extra-base hits (87), RBI (126), and walks (77) at the position.

Ortiz’s 48 doubles, 38 home runs, 87 extra-base hits, and 127 RBI were each the highest single-season totals ever by a major league hitter age 40 or older, as well as the highest by a player in his final season. He also became the oldest player ever to lead the majors in doubles, extra-base hits, or slugging percentage. Ortiz recorded his 10th season with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI and joined Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez as the only major leaguers ever with at least 15 consecutive seasons of 20 or more home runs.

Ortiz batted at least .300 with an OPS above 1.000 in several situations this season, including against right-handed pitchers (.315/1.072), at home (.333/1.108), in night games (.321/1.048), with runners on base (.365/1.175), with runners in scoring position (.343/1.090), with runners in scoring position and two outs (.300/1.016), versus National League teams (.326/1.106), and against American League teams (.314/1.014). He posted a .313/.382/.485 batting line off left-handed pitching, leading AL left-handed batters in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS (.867) versus southpaws.

This marks the second consecutive Silver Slugger Award for the 24-year-old Bogaerts, who led American League shortstops this season with 192 hits and 115 runs and ranked second among that group with 34 doubles and 89 RBI. In addition to establishing career highs in runs and RBI, the starting shortstop for the 2016 American League All-Star team also set personal bests with 157 games, 21 home runs, and 13 stolen bases, finishing with a .294 batting average.

Bogaerts is the first player in Red Sox history with multiple Silver Slugger Awards at shortstop, having become the club’s youngest player to receive the honor in 2015. He is the first American League shortstop to win a Silver Slugger in consecutive years since Derek Jeter was honored in four straight seasons from 2006-09. The last Red Sox infielder to be recognized in consecutive years was Wade Boggs from 1986-89.

The right-handed batter’s 192 hits ranked fifth in the American League and tied for seventh in the majors, while his 115 runs were the sixth-most among AL hitters. He became the first player in Red Sox history to homer 20 times in a season as a shortstop before turning 24. From May 6 to June 2, the native of Aruba hit safely in 26 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in the majors in 2016 and tied for the second-longest streak ever by a Red Sox shortstop.

Bogaerts started each of his 157 games at shortstop, tied for the second-most starts at the position in Red Sox history behind only Eddie Bressoud’s 158 in 1964. After hitting in 27 of 28 May games, he finished the month with a major league-leading 49 hits and a .395 batting average. On June 10 and 11 at Minnesota, Bogaerts became the first player in Red Sox history to record at least four hits and a home run in consecutive games.

Betts is the seventh Red Sox player ever to earn both a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award in the same season, joining Dwight Evans (1981), Ellis Burks (1990), Jason Varitek (2005), Dustin Pedroia (2008), Jacoby Ellsbury (2011), and Adrian Gonzalez (2011). Betts, who turned 24 on October 7, is one of four Red Sox players to win a Silver Slugger prior to the age of 25, along with Carney Lansford (1981), Nomar Garciaparra (1997), and Bogaerts (2015, 2016).

Selected to start the 87th MLB All-Star Game in right field via the fan ballot, Betts was the only outfielder in either league to record as many as 200 hits this season. He led American League outfielders in batting average (.318), RBI (113), doubles (tied, 42), extra-base hits (78), and total bases (359), and ranked among leaders in runs scored (2nd, 122), times on base (3rd, 265), home runs (T-4th, 31), and stolen bases (4th, 26). Betts also hit 31 home runs with an .897 OPS and joined Jacoby Ellsbury (2011) as the only Red Sox ever with at least 30 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a season. 

Named the American League Player of the Month for July, Betts joined Ted Williams (1939, 1941) as the only Red Sox ever with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in a season at the age of 23 or younger. He recorded multiple home runs and at least five RBI in a game four times, tied for the most such games by a Red Sox player in a single season; Jimmie Foxx also had four such games in his 1938 MVP season. Betts tied the Red Sox single-game home run record (three) on May 31 at Baltimore and again on August 14 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, becoming the youngest major leaguer ever to record two three-homer games in a single season. He and Williams (1957) are the only Red Sox ever to record two games with three home runs in a season.

Despite recording 76 more plate appearances this season compared to a year ago, Betts struck out two fewer times in 2016 (80) than he did in 2015 (82). His average of 9.13 plate appearances per strikeout ranked 11th in the majors and 8th in the AL, marking the second-best ratio among players with at least 30 home runs this season (Adrian Beltre – 9.70). Betts did not strike out in his final 78 regular season plate appearances, the longest such streak by a Red Sox player since Wade Boggs in 1991 (107).