Three prominent former Oakland A’s players were named Silver Slugger finalists this morning. Catcher Sean Murphy, first baseman Matt Olson, and second baseman Marcus Semien will all hope to be announced as winners next Thursday.
Semien seems likely to win what would be his second career Silver Slugger award. He posted an impressive .276/.348/.478 with 29 homers and 100 RBI for the Rangers in 2023. He led the league with 185 hits and 122 runs scored and finished with 6.3 fWAR. He is also likely to garner down-ballot AL MVP consideration, though the award should go to Shohei Ohtani.
Matt Olson did some damage this year. He hit .283 and posted league-bests with 54 homers, 139 RBI, and a .604 slugging percentage. His 6.7 fWAR was the highest of his career. Olson faces some tough competition for the award with Freddie Freeman and Pete Alonso being named finalists as well.
While Freeman and Alonso may have more name recognition than Olson does, Olson amassed more home runs and RBI than either, and his .604 slugging percentage was far and away better than either Freeman’s or Alonso’s. While stranger things have happened, it would be a slight surprise if Olson weren’t announced the winner. It would be Olson’s first career Silver Slugger award.
Sean Murphy finds himself in a tight race for the NL catcher award. Murphy slashed .251/.365/.478 with a career-high 21 homers, 68 RBI, and 4.2 fWAR. Murphy is lauded for his defense but he’s no slouch at the plate. The primary knock against him in this race will be the playing time.
Murphy gathered just 438 plate appearances, more than 100 fewer than finalists JT Realmuto and Will Smith, and nearly 200 fewer than William Contreras. Despite the lack of comparative playing time, Murphy’s 21 homers led the group, as did his .478 slugging percentage. Murphy packed a punch when given the opportunity and he stands a real chance to win his first Silver Slugger.
Unsurprisingly, no current Athletics were named finalists. The A’s will have their work cut out for them if they want to get into the race in 2024. Shea Langeliers has the pop for it, but the AL catcher race will be tough with guys like Adley Rutschman in Baltimore and Cal Raleigh in Seattle leading the way. Zack Gelof would seem a good candidate at second base, but he’s got Semien and Jose Altuve to contend with there. We’ll keep our heads high and fingers crossed for our former and current A’s favorites.