Gomes, Brantley win AL Silver Slugger Awards

GomesBrantleySSFB

The Louisville Silver Slugger Awards are given annually to the top offensive performers at each position in each league, and the Indians have two winners this year: catcher Yan Gomes and left fielder Michael Brantley.

Gomes, 27, becomes the first Indians catcher to win an outright Silver Slugger Award; Victor Martinez shared the award with Ivan Rodriguez in 2004. He hit .278 (135-485) with 25 doubles, 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 135 games in 2014, leading American League catchers in average (.278), OPS (.785) and extra base hits (49) and was 2nd in RBI (74) and 3rd in homers (21). The Sao Paulo, Brazil native joined Carlos Santana, Victor Martinez, Sandy Alomar & John Romano as only Indians catchers with 20+ HR, 60+ R and 70+ RBI in a single-season. In his first full season in the Majors, Yan finished 12th in slugging pct (.472), 19th in OPS (.785) and 9th in average vs. LHP (.331) in the entire A.L. among the 76 batters who qualified for the batting title while his 51 RBI over the season’s final 86 games (6/24-9/28) were 2nd on the club behind Santana (55). He is the only catcher in club history to win the *Silver Slugger Award outright (Martinez shared the award in 2004).

Brantley, 27, was named a finalist for the AL MVP award on Tuesday night; he’s up against the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Tigers’ Victor Martinez. Brantley earned his first American League All-Star selection and led the club and set career-bests in virtually every offensive category, becoming the first Indians player to amass 200 hits, 45+ doubles, 20+ HR, 20+ stolen bases in the 114-year history of the franchise; he’s also just the 9th player in MLB history to reach those numbers.

He became the ninth member of the club’s 20 homers/20 steal club and the first Indians hitter since 1996 to record 200 hits. Among A.L. batters he finished 3rd in average (.327) and doubles (45), 2nd in hits (200), 4th in on-base pct. (.385), T6th in runs (94), 7th in OPS (.890), 11th in steals (23) and 12th in RBI (97).  He is vying to become the first Indians A.L. MVP since Al Rosen in 1953. Manny Ramirez and Roberto Alomar (T3rd 1999) were the last Indians players to finish among the top 3 in the A.L. MVP voting.

Louisville Slugger annually awards Silver Sluggers to the top offensive player at each position in the American and National Leagues. The award is voted on by four members of each club’s coaching staff.

The Tribe’s last winner was shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera in 2011, while Grady Sizemore was the last Indians outfielder to win the award, in 2008. Victor Martinez was the last Tribe catcher to win, in 2004, and the last time the Indians had two Silver Sluggers in the same year was 2000 (Robbie Alomar, Manny Ramirez).

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