Pirates’ McCutchen, Walker win NL Silver Slugger awards |

Pirates’ McCutchen, Walker win NL Silver Slugger awards

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen celebrates with Neil Walker after defeating the Phillies for their first series sweep Sunday, July 6, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen finished behind the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton in the NL MVP race.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker watches his double in front of Cubs catcher John Baker during the fifth inning Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is greeted by Andrew McCutchen after hitting a two-run homer during the eighth inning against the Braves Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at Turner Field in Atlanta.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is greeted by Neil Walker after hitting a solo homer during the sixth inning against the Braves Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker on Thursday were named as the best hitters at their respective positions in the National League.

McCutchen was named one of three NL Silver Slugger outfielders, and Walker took the honors at second base.

The award goes to the top offensive performer at each position in each league.

It is the third consecutive Silver Slugger for McCutchen, who for the third straight season produced at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging mark — rare production for a center-of-the-field player. The award is voted on by major league coaches and managers.

It was the first Silver Slugger for Walker, who led NL second basemen with a career-best 23 home runs and an .809 on-base plus slugging percentage. Walker’s .467 slugging mark was the best of his career.

McCutchen led the NL with a career-best .410 on-base percentage.

He walked 84 times, showing restraint to not expand the strike zone when opposing pitchers pitched around him.

McCutchen’s .542 slugging mark was the second-best of his career. He hit 25 home runs and 38 doubles. McCutchen also posted a .314 batting average.

McCutchen is not just the best offensive center fielder in the NL, but arguably the top offensive performer at any position. His .952 on-base plus slugging mark led the NL

Rounding out the NL Silver Slugger field: outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (Miami) and Justin Upton (Atlanta); third baseman Anthony Rendon (Washington); shortstop Ian Desmond (Washington); first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers); catcher Buster Posey (San Francisco); and pitcher Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco).

In the American League, Chicago White Sox rookie first baseman Jose Abreu and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve were among first-time winners.

Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre won for the fourth time and was joined on the AL team by White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes and Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez.

The Angels’ Mike Trout joined Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza (1993-95) as the only players to win in each of their first three full big league seasons and was joined in the outfield by Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Cleveland’s Michael Brantley.

Beltre, Gonzalez and Martinez each earned $100,000 bonuses for winning the award; Trout $75,000; Brantley, Bumgarner and Posey $50,000 apiece; Altuve $25,000; and Abreu and Ramirez $15,000 each.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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