Earlier this week, we reported on Mark Buehrle, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, winning a gold glove. His well-deserved win likely had a bittersweet feel for teammate Alexei Ramirez, who may have been a more deserving winner at the shortstop position than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. Well, consider the checkbook balanced: Alexei has been awarded a Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award.â†µ
On first glance, and batting average aside, Alexei's numbers don't look overly impressive. He hit .282/.313/.431 (.744 OPS, .322 wOBA), good for a 3.8 WAR thanks largely to his great defense at his position. (All stats courtesy of Fangraphs.) His raw OBP is pretty low, and even his wOBA (weighted on-base average) is below league average.â†µ
But, among American League shortstops with at least 500 plate appearances, those digits are indeed top of the heap for the most part. Alexei was No. 1 in (deep breath) batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, wOBA, isolated power and WAR (edging out Cliff Pennington of the Oakland Atheltics in that last category). He also hit the most home runs -- 18. Ramirez ranked sixth among qualifers in OBP. Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers was tops in that category at .342.â†µ
Let's hope Alexei's win gives him a boost of confidence at the plate heading into 2011. As a 29-year-old, cost-controlled, defensively strong shortstop, he remains a solid value to the Sox.