Major League Baseball revealed the list of finalists for the Silver Slugger Award in both leagues and, not surprisingly, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford made the cut at catcher and shortstop, respectively.
SF Giants: Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford finalists for Silver Slugger
This is the cherry on the top after a strong season for both Crawford and Posey. Crawford had played his way into the MVP conversation, whereas Posey had a resurgent season at an age where a catcher's career tends to rapidly regress.
Crawford will go up against Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego Padres), Trea Turner (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Willy Adames (Milwaukee Brewers). The longtime Giants shortstop had a career year at the plate, registering a .298/.373/.522 line (141 OPS+) with 24 home runs, 90 RBI, and 79 runs scored while being worth 6.1 WAR across 549 plate appearances.
The offensive output is just one area in which Crawford provides value. The other key area is on defense as he provided highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis. That said, the Silver Slugger Award concentrates on offensive production. It is going to tough for Crawford to beat Tatis Jr. as the young Padres shortstop posted a 166 OPS+ in 546 plate appearances in 2021.
On the other hand, Posey is a finalist at catcher along with Will Smith (Dodgers), J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies) and Omar Narváez (Brewers). Posey put together a strong campaign last season as he recorded a .304/.390/.499 line (140 OPS+) with 18 home runs, 56 RBI, and 68 runs scored while being worth 3.5 WAR in 454 plate appearances.
The Giants remained committed to managing Posey's workload in 2021. Oftentimes, the coaching staff would play the 34-year-old in the first two games of the series and then sit him in the third game in favor of veteran backstop Curt Casali. It was a move that drew the ire of fans at times but it is difficult to argue with the results.
Posey's toughest competition in earning his fifth Silver Slugger Award will be Will Smith of the Dodgers. Posey has the edge in terms of efficiency stats (on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS+, wRC+) but Smith has the advantage in terms of counting stats (home runs, RBI, and runs scored). Based on this, Posey should garner more votes than Smith as efficiency stats should carry more weight in the voting.
The winners will be revealed shortly after the conclusion of the World Series and it is an impressive feat that both Crawford and Posey continue to be recognized as some of the top players at their respective positions. The Giants' veteran core is poised to return next season with the hopes of adding to their list of career accomplishments.