3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards
November 8, 2012, 7:00 pm
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The first major award of Stephen Strasburg's big-league career was not for anything he did on the pitcher's mound. Instead, it's for what he did in the batter's box.

Strasburg tonight won the Silver Slugger Award, deemed as the best offensive pitcher in the National League by managers and coaches, who also gave the award to Nationals teammates Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche for their offensive performances at shortstop and first base.

Strasburg, Desmond and LaRoche become the third, fourth and fifth players in Nationals history to earn Silver Slugger honors, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006) and Ryan Zimmerman (2009, 2010).

LaRoche joins Zimmerman as a dual Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award winner and becomes the seventh NL first baseman ever to win both awards in the same season, joining Keith Hernandez (1980, 1984), Will Clark (1991), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Todd Helton (2001, 2002), Derrek Lee (2005) and Albert Pujols (2010).

The 32-year-old led all first basemen in his league with 33 homers (a career high) and 100 RBI (matching a career high), though his .510 slugging percentage only ranked fifth.

Desmond's selection is further validation of a breakthrough season that saw the 27-year-old shortstop earn his first career All-Star selection as well as the designation as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.

Desmond led all NL shortstops with 25 homers, a .292 batting average and .511 slugging percentage. He also stole 21 bases, becoming only the ninth shortstop in big-league history with at least 25 homers and 20 steals in a season.

Strasburg also was an All-Star this season, based entirely on his pitching performance. The 24-year-old right-hander went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts before he was shut down by the Nationals in early September after throwing 159 1/3 innings.

As dominant as he was at times on the mound, Strasburg was equally as dominant at the plate ... at least, for a pitcher. He hit .277 (13-for-47) with a homer, four doubles and an NL-high seven RBI for the season. On July 15, his batting average actually stood at .385, with his OPS at a remarkable 1.102.