The SF Giants got a bit of good news on Thursday as it was announced that Donovan Solano had won the National League Silver Slugger award at second base.
Since joining the SF Giants, Solano has been a fantastic hitter, and the award adds another stripe to his belt.
When the right-handed bat originally signed with the Giants on a minor league pact before 2019, I do not think anyone expected him to become a role player. However, Solano has registered a .328 batting average while wearing the Orange and Black in what has become a surprising career renaissance.
With that being said, Solano has been very appreciative of the Giants for giving him another opportunity:
Before joining San Francisco, Solano slashed a .257/.306/.331 line (76 OPS+) in parts of five seasons with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees. He struggled to stick on major league rosters and earned the “journeyman” title.
After stringing together a surprising campaign in 2019, Solano was tasked with proving that 2019 was not a fluke and he rose up to the challenge. Across 203 plate appearances, the veteran infielder produced a .326/.365/.463 line (128 OPS+) with three home runs and 29 RBI in 2020.
His knack for barreling up every pitch earned him the nickname “Donnie Barrels:”
Only Juan Soto (.351), Freddie Freeman (.341), Marcell Ozuna (.338), and Trea Turner (.335) generated higher batting averages than Solano’s .326-mark in the National League.
Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres was the only National League second baseman to produce at a similar level as Solano. The rookie infielder posted a 128 OPS+ in 192 plate appearances and is a strong contender for the NL Rookie of the Year award.
It is a shame there was no All-Star team this season as Solano would have likely been the NL’s starter at second base. For someone who struggled to find his footing at the major league level, this would have been a special honor for the 32-year-old.
Solano’s bat nearly pushed the Giants into the playoffs, but despite the playoff aspirations falling short, this is a cool award for him.