Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker Win Silver Slugger Awards

The Silver Slugger awards are being announced tonight on MLB Network and Andrew McCutchen took home his third straight award. McCutchen hit .314/.410/.952 this season and led the National League in on base percentage and OPS. He had 38 doubles, six triples and 25 homers.

Second baseman Neil Walker won his first Silver Slugger. He had a .271/.342/.467 slash line in 137 games this year. Walker had 25 doubles and set a Pirates record with 23 homers as a second baseman.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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I think the bigger question is what to do with Pedro. If he is on the team, it impacts the entire lineup and team makeup.


I stated on another thread that Walker and Alvarez should start 2015 and alternate at 1B. A switchhitting Silver Slugger and a guy who had years of 30 and 36 HR’s. IMO, Walker has limited time left as a 2B because Alen Hanson is almost ready; he can be a long time fixture in Pittsburgh at 1B, and his numbers of HR’s increasing every year from 12 to 14 to 16 and then to 23 are proof he needs to be in our lineup. The fact that he brings a lot as a home town boy is just more icing on the cake. Giving Alvarez the chance at 1B is essential so that he can hopefully become a better “tradeable” entity for an AL team where he can be used as a DH when not playing 1B or 3B.


I’d play him at 1B and bat him 7th until he proves he can pull up his OBP. Or if Pedro is traded and they play Davis at 1B I’d bat him 7th until he proves that his power has returned. Or if they trade both Pedro and Davis and play Lambo at first I’d bat him 7th as well. So it really doesn’t matter who they retain as far as lineup construction goes.


Pedro’s best OBP year was last year, so I wouldnt hold out for any further huge improvements. The bet on Pedro is if next year could help his value…or hurt it. Based on his throwing yips and his power down last year, it might be time to cut bait and trade him based on 36HR’s the prior year and save his salary.


Neil Walker’s trade value has never been higher, take advantage. Odds are he’ll fall back toward his career OPS of .770 in 2015, he’s going to be 30, he has a bum back, and he is arguably the worst defensive second baseman in baseball. Sell high on him for a quality starting pitcher. Then either move Jhay to 2B and acquire a third baseman (cough, Chase Headley, cough, cough), or leave him at 3B and acquire someone to play 2B.

Andy Prough

Headley’s one outlier year (2012) is starting to fade into the rearview mirror as he also turns 30 and battles his now-chronic knee pain issues. Giving up Walker and sliding Headley into the infield isn’t likely to resolve any of the issues you brought up. Might as well just move Walker to 3rd if what you are really trying to accomplish is to get Harrison’s glove at 2nd.


Headley is one of the best defensive third baseman in the game. Having him there, Jhay at 2B, and Walker not out there would improve this infield defense vastly. Offensively Headley and Walker aren’t that different (.770 career OPS vs .756). Plus, you can argue 2014 was an outlier for Walker.


I agree with this, “Neil Walker’s trade value has never been higher ” but don’t think the Pirates can afford to move him now because of the hole at cleanup it would leave. Not that Neil is an ideal cleanup hitter, he’s just the best combination of OPS and power that we have for that slot at the moment. Neither Pedro, Ike or Gabby has the (ch)OPS for the job. Who could you put at #4 if Neil left?


You can’t not trade a guy just because it leaves a hole at clean up, IMO. I’d be okay with Marte there, Pedro if he can get his act together again (I wouldn’t start the year with him there I’d make him earn it first), or whoever is brought in to fill the hole Walker creates on the infield.

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