McCutchen, Alvarez awarded Silver Sluggers
Outfielder picks up second straight honor; third baseman comes off power year
Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez, pillars of the offense that carried the Pirates to 94 wins and into the postseason, are recipients of this year's National League Silver Slugger Awards.
McCutchen earned his second consecutive Silver Slugger in the outfield, while Alvarez picked up his first at third base.
McCutchen and Alvarez are the first set of Pittsburgh teammates to earn Silver Sluggers since 1992, when outfielders Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke received the hardware.
Alvarez also became the first Pirates third baseman to get the award since Bobby Bonilla, who won the award at that position in 1988 and would earn two more as an outfielder.
Three Silver Sluggers are awarded to outfielders regardless of their position, but it is still worth noting how much McCutchen stood out in center, one of the sport's glamour positions.
McCutchen finished seventh in the league with a .317 average, but that figure was 32 points higher than the runner-up at his position, Cincinnati's Shin-Soo Choo. In a modest offensive season for NL center fielders, McCutchen also led with 84 RBIs, and his 21 homers tied with Choo for second to Carlos Gomez's 24.
Despite continuing to struggle with hitting (.233 average) or even making contact (186 strikeouts) consistently, Alvarez was an obvious choice at his position. He hit 10 more homers (Ryan Zimmerman ) and drove in 18 more runs (Martin Prado ) than any other NL third baseman.
With another Silver Slugger, which McCutchen first earned last year, he has two sets of back-to-back honors, having two days ago picked up a second straight Players Choice NL Outstanding Player award.
But McCutchen's most prestigious back-to-back accomplishment could be this: .300/.400/.500.
With a .317 average, .404 on-base percentage and .508 slugging percentage, McCutchen became the fourth center fielder in history with that slash line in consecutive seasons. The three predecessors were Mickey Mantle [1954-58 and 1961-64], Willie Mays [1954-55 and 1957-58] and Ken Griffey Jr. [1993-94], two Hall of Famers and one in the Cooperstown waiting room.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.