A letter to MLB coaches and managers

Dear MLB coaches and managers,

About an hour ago, the AL and NL Silver Slugger Awards were announced. The winner of the Silver Slugger for second base in the AL was Aaron Hill. This angers me deeply. Aaron Hill had a good season, but he was not the best hitting second basemen in the AL. That title, for 2009, belongs to either Robinson Cano or Ben Zobrist.

Before I make the case for Cano or Zobrist, let’s take a look at where Hill ranks among AL second basemen. Aaron Hill was 6/10 in BA, 8/10 in OBP, 3/10 in SLG, 4/10 in wOBA, 4/10 in wRAA, and 3/10 in EqA. He had a good power season, which is why he was middle of the pack in terms of wOBA and wRAA, but he has a below average OBP which kills a lot of his offensive value. For his OBP alone he shouldn’t be able to win the Silver Slugger.

Robinson Cano was 1/10 in BA, 5/10 in OBP, 2/10 in SLG, 2/10 in wOBA, 2/10 in wRAA, and 2/10 in EqA. He was BETTER than Hill in every category. Just look at them head to head:

Hill: .286/.330/.499/.357wOBA with 17.0 wRAA and .277 EqA
Cano: .320/.352/.530/.370wOBA with 23.1 wRAA and .287 EqA

There is no comparison. Cano was clearly better in BA, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRAA, and EqA. And if you look at statcorner’s wOBA and wRAA calculations, the difference is even more pronounced. Hill’s wOBA and wRAA according to them was .361 (106 wOBA+) and 12.5 bringing his hitting WAR to 3.3. Meanwhile, Cano’s wOBA and wRAA were .381 (112 wOBA+) and 22.9 bringing his hitting WAR to 4.2.

There is only one AL second baseman that can challenge Cano for best hitter and that is Ben Zobrist. Zobrist was the second most valuable player in the AL on a per 150 games basis according to WAR and his line was:

Zobrist: .297/.405/.543/.408wOBA with 39.3 wRAA and .317 EqA.

However, he only started 81 games at second and only played in 91 games at second. So if he won the award, he would clearly be deserving. But since he only started 53% of his games at second, then the only other choice for AL Silver Slugger at second base this year is Robinson Cano.

Please coaches and managers, get your facts straight. You just deprived a good, young player of an award he can put on his resume, that bogus writers in the BBWAA will check at the end of his career.

With love,

PS- Other AL second basemen who had a better or nearly identical offensive season compared to Hill:
>Dustin Pedroia
>Brian Roberts
>Ian Kinsler
>Alberto Collaspo

EDIT: In our awards post I did vote for Zobrist as the Silver Slugger. Either Zobrist or Cano deserved it, depending on if you don’t want to vote for Zobrist because he only started 53% of his games at second base.

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