Padres boast two Silver Slugger winners, Fernando Tatis Jr. & Manny Machado


Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The special 2020 season for the San Diego Padres just got one more chance to shine — this time in the postseason awards department. 

On Thursday, Major League Baseball handed out the Silver Slugger Awards.

Padres fans are familiar this award since Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, took home seven of them. Now, two more Friars get to put a shiny silver bat into their trophy case.

Fernando Tatis Jr. won his first Silver Slugger Award as the best hitting shortstop in the National League. He defeated a strong field, which included Trea Turner and NLCS and World Series MVP Corey Seager.

For just over half of the shortened season, Tatis was not only a lock for this award but for the National League MVP. Unfortunately, a slump ended his MVP hopes, but his numbers were good enough to take away some hardware. In a season that did not name any All-Stars, it’s nice to have Tatis come away with something tangible to put on his resume from such a fun, special season.

He posted a .937 OPS and 149 wRC+ and led all shortstops with 17 home runs. That was enough to push him over the edge to secure the award. This looks to be only the beginning for a player who is just 21 years old and will only get better.

At third base, the clear winner was Manny Machado, and he rightfully is awarded his first-ever Silver Slugger. The fact that it took Machado nine seasons, including five with at least 32 home runs, to receive this award is puzzling. Nevertheless, he finally adds on to his trophy case. 2020 was a weird year for most, but for Manny, it was back to being Manny. He led all third basemen in fWAR (2.6), average (.304), home runs (16), and OPS (.950). This further validates his status as one of the best third basemen in the game of baseball and justifies his gaudy contract. He becomes the fourth Padres third baseman to win it and the first since Chase Headley in 2012, the last time any Padre won the award.

This marks just the third time in franchise history where there are multiple Silver Slugger winners on the same Friars squad. The first was 1984, with Tony Gwynn and Garry Templeton (the last time a Padres shortstop won the award). Then in 1992, Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff took the honors.

Tatis and Machado winning Silver Sluggers together, as the left side of the infield for the Padres, truly marks this as a different time in Padres history, a better time. This is what the front office and executives have been preaching would come, that patience would pay off. These two players seem connected, given Machado’s leadership and role in Tatis’ growth as a player. Tatis credits Machado for a lot of his development over the last two seasons, Machado’s first two years in San Diego.

First, the Padres ended a 14-year playoff drought and then went on to exorcise their playoff demons in the St. Louis Cardinals in the most dramatic of fashions, led by these two stars. Now, the Padres have a Gold Glove winner in Trent Grisham, and the entire left side of their infield has Silver Sluggers to their names.

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