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SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have long been known for pitching, but Thursday’s Silver Slugger Award announcements showed that this now is an organization that’s as powerful as any in the National League.
A third of the Opening Day lineup won a Silver Slugger, given annually to the best hitter at each position. Shortstop Brandon Crawford won for the first time, catcher Buster Posey took home his third Silver Slugger, and ace Madison Bumgarner won for a second straight season.
The announcements capped a huge week for Crawford, who picked up his first Gold Glove Award on Tuesday. He is the first Giants shortstop to win a Silver Slugger since Rich Aurilia in 2001. Crawford led National League shortstops in homers (21, more than doubling his previous career-high), RBI (84), doubles (33) and OPS (.782). He was the first Giant in 42 years to lead MLB shortstops in RBI and the first shortstop in 110 years to lead the Giants in homers.
With Troy Tulowitzki now in the American League, Crawford will have a strong chance to repeat in 2016. The other two Giants winners have strangleholds on the award.
Posey has won three of the last four years and was an easy choice this season after leading NL catchers in average (.318), homers (tied with Welington Castillo at 19), RBI (95), runs (74), OBP (.379) and slugging (.470).
Bumgarner is the best-hitting pitcher in baseball and it’s not particularly close. He hit five homers; no other pitcher had more than two. The big lefty became the first pitcher to hit five bombs since 2006, when Carlos Zambrano had six, and he needs just one more to tie active leader Yovani Gallardo (12 career homers).
Bumgarner also led MLB pitchers in hits (19) and RBI (9). Bumgarner slugged .468, which ranked him 47th among all National League players with at least 75 plate appearances.