11/02/11 8:35 PM EST
Asdrubal picks up first Silver Slugger Award
Shortstop's 25 homers set single-season club record
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Asdrubal Cabrera beat out a talented field of American League shortstops, including former teammate Jhonny Peralta, to take home the honor.
AL managers and coaches vote on the honor near the end of each season, using batting average, slugging and on-base percentages among the statistics they judge. They didn't give a nod to Cabrera for the Rawlings Gold Glove, choosing the Angels' Erick Aybar, but they recognized the impact Cabrera had as the catalyst for an offense that kept the Indians in contention for much of the summer before finishing second in the AL Central.
Cabrera led all AL shortstops with 92 RBIs while sharing the lead with 165 hits and finishing second with home runs, doubles and runs scored. His .792 OPS was good for third. While Peralta had a strong case in Detroit in his first season back at shortstop, the production Cabrera put up stood out.
What separated Cabrera from the others, arguably, was his performance in the clutch. His .309 average with runners in scoring position (43-for-139) ranked in the top 20 among all AL hitters, and his .325 average with runners on base in general put him in the top 10. Thirty-two of the 92 runs he drove in were either game-tying or go-ahead tallies.
The production fueled an Indians lineup that had several other bats bouncing in and out of the batting order due to injuries. He led the team in hits, RBIs and runs scored, and he drove in 154 of Cleveland's 704 runs for the year, accounting for better than 20 percent of the Indians' run production.
Cabrera's 25 homers set a single-season Indians record for shortstops, topping Peralta's mark of 24 in 2005. Not since Lou Boudreau's 106 RBIs in 1948 had a Cleveland shortstop driven in that many runs.
Add in the fact that Cabrera hit just three home runs in 2010, and 18 homers over the first four seasons of his Major League career combined, and it was truly a breakout season for Cabrera at age 25. The 22-homer jump was the second-largest from one year to the next in franchise history, trailing only Ed Morgan's 23-homer leap from 1929 to 1930.
Not since Grady Sizemore in 2008 had Cleveland won a Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger honor. For Indians infielders, however, the wait goes further back. Alomar's last Silver Slugger came in 2000, when the Hall of Fame second baseman hit .310 with 19 homers and 89 RBIs. He actually topped those numbers the next season, but was overshadowed by Bret Boone's 37-homer breakout in Seattle.