MLB released its 2022 list of finalists for the Silver Slugger award and two SF Giants hitters made the cut. Outfielder Joc Pederson and utility infielder Thairo Estrada were selected as finalists at their respective positions.
2 SF Giants hitters selected as Silver Slugger finalists
In a cool piece of history, MLB just added the utility infielder component to account for the fact that some players move all around the field. Estrada joins Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals), Brandon Drury (San Diego Padres), Chris Taylor (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Jeff McNeil as the first finalists for the Silver Slugger award for a utility infielder in the National League.
The 2022 season definitely had some low points for the Giants, such as having no Gold Glove finalists, but Estrada's surprising performance was one of the positives. The right-handed bat was acquired in exchange for cash from the New York Yankees at the start of the 2021 season.
The front office has aggressively churned the waiver wire in an attempt to find a hidden gem and it feels like this strategy has paid off with Estrada so far. The middle infielder slashed, .260/.322/.402 (104 OPS+) with 14 home runs, 62 RBI, and 71 runs in 541 plate appearances this year. This includes a 6.1 percent walk rate against a 16.5 percent strikeout rate. Plus, the 26-year-old stole 21 bases in 27 opportunities.
It feels like Estrada might even have more power in his bat as he blasted just two home runs in the first two months of the season. This was Estrada's longest look in the majors and he appeared to get better as the season progressed.
Teammate Joc Pederson joins Estrada as the Giants finalists for the Silver Slugger award. The Giants signed the left-handed bat to a one-year, $6 million pact before the season and that move paid dividends for San Francisco.
Pederson registered a .274/.353/.521 line (144 OPS) with 23 home runs, 70 RBI, and 57 runs in 433 plate appearances. He was undeniably the Giants' best hitter in 2022 and he was rewarded with an NL All-Star bid.
The Giants will have a decision to make with the 30-year-old outfielder this winter and he is certainly in a position to earn a nice payday. Pederson will face some pretty stiff competition in the outfield with Mookie Bets (Dodgers), Kyle Schwarber (Philadelphia Phillies) and Juan Soto (Padres).
This is all a formality by the way. The Silver Sluggers have already been selected but baseball is trying to generate more interest in its annual awards. Nonetheless, it is cool that the Giants were recognized at a couple positions.