A September swoon didn’t keep Braves catcher Brian McCann from winning his fifth Silver Slugger award in six years on Wednesday night and enter even more elite company.
McCann became the first player to win five Silver Sluggers as a Brave and only the sixth catcher to win five or more in his career, and he’s only 27. Silver Sluggers are awarded to the top offensive players at each position as voted on by players and managers.
McCann has won it each of the past four years and five times in only six full seasons in the major leagues.
Tom Glavine and Dale Murphy each won four Silver Slugger awards for the Braves. At catcher, Mike Piazza won 10 Silver Sluggers, Ivan Rodriguez seven, Lance Parrish six, and Gary Carter and Jorge Posada each have five.
McCann led all National League catchers with 24 home runs and he drove in 71 runs, while hitting .270 with a .351 on-base percentage. He beat out Yadier Molina of the Cardinals who hit .305 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs, and Arizona’s Miguel Montero, who hit .282 with 18 homers and 86 RBIs.
McCann struggled down the stretch after suffering an oblique strain and returning to action only two weeks later. McCann hit .180 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 37 games after returning from his oblique in mid-August, but he still matched his career high in homers (he also hit 24 in 2006) and finished third among qualified NL catchers in batting average.
Braves second basemen Dan Uggla led all NL second basemen with 36 home runs and was tied for second with 82 RBIs, but he was beat out for the Silver Slugger by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, of Stone Mountain, who also drove in 82 runs and hit 18 homers but hit .300.
Uggla, who won his first Silver Slugger award last year as a member of the Marlins, got off to the worst two-month start of his career in his first season with the Braves and finished the season batting .233. He was hitting only .173 on July 5 when he started a 33-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors since Chase Utley’s 35-game streak for the Phillies in 2006.
Silver Slugger winners were: Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks) and Ryan Braun (Brewers) in the NL outfield; Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Jacob Ellsbury (Red Sox) and Curtis Granderson (Yankees) in the AL outfield; Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) at first base; Phillips (Reds) and Robinson Cano (Yankees) at second base; Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) and Adrian Beltre (Rangers) at third base; Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) and Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) at shortstop; McCann (Braves) and Alex Avila (Tigers) at catcher; Daniel Hudson (Diamondbacks) at pitcher and David Ortiz (Red Sox) at designated hitter.