On Thursday morning, MLB announced the finalists for the 2023 Silver Slugger awards, and the Tigers have a representative. First baseman Spencer Torkelson is one of four American League first baseman named finalists for the award at that position. The Silver Slugger Award are presented to the best offensive player in the league at each position.
Reigning AL Silver Slugger at first base, the Texas Ranger Nathaniel Lowe, is also a finalist, along with Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Triston Casas of the Boston Red Sox. All but Lowe would be first time winners of the award.
Torkelson has a bit of a case after leading all AL first baseman with 31 home runs. On the other hand, Diaz was easily the most productive after joining the Rays and finally learning to drive some balls in the air. Always an OBP machine, the 32-year-old put up a 164 wRC+ with 22 home runs over 600 plate appearances in 2023, and has to be considered the easy front runner. Of course, with awards you never really know.
Casas had a very good rookie season, despite only getting 502 plate appearances. He still cracked 24 home runs and put up a 129 wRC+, while Torkelson only managed a 107 wRC+ after struggling badly early in the season and then kicking into high gear in June.
As for Lowe, he had a solid season, posting a .360 OBP, a 114 wRC+, and hitting 17 home runs, but he did need 724 plate appearances to do it. An Ironman award might be more appropriate, and Lowe had far and away the lowest isolated power mark, if we’re actually going by “slugging” to mean hitting for power.
Individual winners will be announced on MLB Network at 6:00 p.m. ET on November 9. For the first time, there will also be Silver Slugger Team Awards for the best offensive team in each league. Voting for the individual awards is done by league managers and coaches.