Who Will Win the First Ever Team Silver Slugger Awards?

The Braves are the clear favorite in the NL, but which AL club will take home the very first team-wide Silver Slugger?

Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 12: Ozzie Albies #1 of the Atlanta Braves talks with Ronald Acuna Jr. after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning of game one of a doubleheader at Citi Field on August 12, 2023 in New York City. The Braves defeated the Mets 21-3. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball doesn’t give out many team-wide awards.

There’s the Commissioner’s Trophy, of course, presented each year to the World Series champion. There are also the league pennants and the division titles, but that’s pretty much it. Teams don’t get subjective awards; if a team wants an honor, they have to win ballgames.

This year, however, that’s about to change. The Silver Slugger Awards, presented annually to the best offensive performers at each position in each league, will now also recognize the best offensive team in each league.

Unlike the individual Silver Sluggers, which are voted on by managers and coaches, these new awards will be determined by a combination of fan voting and “analytics,” according to the announcement from Louisville Slugger.

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There’s a reason team awards aren’t as commonplace as individual honors. At the end of the day, the only stats that matter for teams are wins and losses. Still, these new Silver Sluggers are intriguing, if for no other reason than because they’re the first of their kind.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at which clubs could take home the inaugural team-wide Silver Sluggers.

National League

The Finalists

via FanGraphs

Atlanta Braves

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Olson #28 of the Atlanta Braves reacts with teammates after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Let’s start with the National League, where the conversation is already open and shut. The Atlanta Braves lead the Senior Circuit in scoring by a margin of 40 runs over the second-place L.A. Dodgers. They lead in hits, home runs, RBI, and all three triple-slash categories.

According to wRC+, the Braves have been 24% better than the average offense. No other team – in either league – comes close.

Atlanta has ten players with at least 10 home runs, seven players with at least 20, five players with at least 30, two players with at least 40, and one with an MLB-leading 53 blasts.

Every hitter in the Braves’ starting lineup has a wRC+ above 100; from top to bottom, there isn’t a single liability.

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Matt Olson is pacing the league in home runs and RBI, while Ronald Acuña Jr. leads in stolen bases, runs scored, and OPS. They have been two of the best offensive performers in baseball.

Meanwhile, Austin Riley leads NL third basemen in hits, homers, and slugging percentage. Sean Murphy leads all catchers (min. 400 PA) with a 133 wRC+. Ozzie Albies and Orlando Arcia rank among the top five at their respective positions in OPS.

Simply put, the Braves are an offensive powerhouse. Some have even argued they’re the greatest offensive team in MLB history.

They have the Silver Slugger in the bag.

Los Angeles Dodgers

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – MAY 27: J.D. Martinez #28 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Jason Heyward #23 after scoring in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 27, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Braves have this one on lock. Still, I feel compelled to acknowledge the Dodgers, too. They’re arguably the second-best offensive team in the game, and they deserve a shutout in any piece about the top-hitting ballclubs.

Los Angeles ranks second in MLB in total runs scored and runs per game. They also rank second in OBP. Outside of the Braves, nobody makes fewer outs than the Dodgers.

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Eight Dodgers players have hit 15 or more home runs, and those same eight all boast a wRC+ above league average. Leading the way are Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the only two hitters giving Acuña and Olson competition at the top of the NL leaderboards.

L.A. has also gotten strong contributions from a revitalized J.D. Martinez and Jason Heyward, the ever-reliable Max Muncy and Will Smith, and rookie standout James Outman.

They aren’t the Braves, but the Dodgers boast as powerful a lineup as anyone else.

American League

The Finalists

Via FanGraphs

The competition is far more engaging on the Junior Circuit. The Rays looked like the top offensive club right out of the gate this season, but it wasn’t long before the Rangers usurped the title. More recently, the Astros bats have been the class of the American League.

As the season draws to a close, these three clubs have similar numbers across the board. Any one of them could take home the first-ever AL team Silver Slugger.

Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – JULY 14: Adolis Garcia #53 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Leody Taveras #3 after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Globe Life Field on July 14, 2023 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

The Rangers hold a sizeable lead in runs scored, and to some, that might be the only category that matters. After all, what else does an offense have to do but score runs?

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Corey Seager3387962.333.394.645.428.424175
Mitch Garver1844490.273.373.509.378.369141
Marcus Semien271179714.277.350.475.354.331124
Adolis García361041039.244.326.500.350.363122
Nathaniel Lowe1687801.268.365.418.344.338117
Josh Jung2374701.274.320.486.343.343117
Ezequiel Duran1455468.277.324.446.331.319108
Jonah Heim1859922.261.317.449.327.327105
Robbie Grossman1056491.241.339.401.324.307103
Leody Taveras13666514.273.319.429.322.320102
via FanGraphs

On top of that, Texas boasts a seven-point lead in on-base percentage and a 22-point lead in OPS. There is no denying they’ve been one of the best offensive teams in the league. But the very best? Not if the Rays have something to say about it…

Tampa Bay Rays

ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – AUGUST 25: Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated after scoring a run in the fifth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field on August 25, 2022 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The Rays trail the Rangers in almost every offensive category but one: wRC+. By this metric, the two clubs are neck and neck.

Yet unlike all the other stats I’ve mentioned, wRC+ is park-adjusted, which means it takes into account the pitcher-friendly confines of Tropicana Field, where the Rays play their home games. Simply put, runs don’t come as frequently at the Trop as they do at Globe Life Field. Therefore, it’s not really fair to compare Tampa Bay and Texas without looking at park-adjusted metrics.

Here’s another way to think about it. The Rays have outscored the Rangers in away games. Indeed, they hold the lead in home runs, batting average, and slugging percentage, while their OPS is 30 points higher on the road.

What more proof do you need that their numbers have been deflated at Tropicana Field?

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If I had to guess, I’d say the Rangers are still the favorites. More often than not, traditional stats are still king, especially for a fan-voted award. However, the Rays deserve a whole lot of credit for what they have done in such a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Yandy Díaz2194760.328.408.515.398.378161
Isaac Paredes3067951.251.354.490.364.311138
Randy Arozarena23928322.255.363.427.346.351125
Josh Lowe19657932.284.327.487.346.339125
Harold Ramírez1153635.308.349.449.344.316124
Taylor Walls8503322.203.310.340.292.28088
Manuel Margot336349.254.302.361.290.29686
Christian Bethancourt1149331.225.254.381.271.26873
via FanGraphs

Houston Astros

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 18: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros at bat against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Astros are currently trailing the Rangers and Rays in most categories, including runs scored, OPS, and wRC+. However, they’re close enough that they could make things interesting over the final six games of the season.

Houston has been red-hot as of late, with an .883 OPS and a 143 wRC+ over the past 30 days. No other AL club has an OPS above .800 or a wRC+ above 115 in that time. With a few more big games – and a slow finish from both Texas and Tampa – the ‘Stros could put a cherry on top of their Silver Slugger case.

Yordan Alvarez2973950.295.411.584.418.434172
Jose Altuve17754913.311.397.536.399.338159
Chas McCormick22597019.281.360.506.371.353139
Kyle Tucker289110929.281.367.509.369.389137
Yainer Diaz2350600.285.309.544.356.370129
Alex Bregman2499963.261.364.437.351.349125
Mauricio Dubón974427.280.312.411.312.30298
Jeremy Peña10815113.261.321.381.308.30196
Jake Meyers1042335.227.296.382.297.28588
José Abreu1758840.234.295.374.292.31084
Martín Maldonado1431340.189.258.343.264.27065
via FanGraphs

The Astros aren’t the favorites right now, but they’re certainly still in the conversation.