Award season continues to roll on and to no one’s surprise, the Atlanta Braves have earned more hardware for the trophy case.
The 2023 Silver Slugger Awards were handed out on Thursday evening honoring the best bats in the National and American Leagues. You can see the full list of winners here.
Atlanta witnessed 3 of their players receive the Silver Slugger honor for the 2023 season. Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley were awarded the honor. The Braves offense was one of the most potent in all of baseball and while these three were major contributing factors, the entire lineup contributed.
Thanks to those contributions, the Atlanta Braves offense won the inaugural Silver Slugger team award. Atlanta as a whole carried a slash line of .276/.344/.501 through 2023 and were the first team to ever finish with a slugging percentage of .500 or better.
They tied the MLB season record for home runs with 307 of them and they carried a 124 OPS+ for 2023. No other team came close to dethroning the Braves. It was never in question who the best offense in baseball was.
Now that we’ve gone over the team award, let’s break down how each Braves’ Silver Slugger winner performed in 2023.
It’s no secret that Acuna put up one of the best seasons that baseball fans have ever seen. He came out of the gate swinging and never took his foot off of the gas pedal. Acuna now finds himself as the favorite to win the NL MVP Award as well.
Ronald put up the first ever 40/50, 40/60, and 40/70 season in MLB history. You couldn’t look away from the screen when he walked up to the plate. If you blinked, you potentially missed a home run or stolen base. He finished the year with 41 HR, 106 RBI, and 73 SB.
This award makes it 3 Silver Sluggers now in Acuna’s career. He earned the award in 2019 and 2020 as well. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear Ronald’s name called for a Silver Slugger in his career. The next step is winning the National League MVP which should pretty much be guaranteed at this point.
After an MVP-worthy campaign, Matt Olson’s hard work was awarded with his first-ever Silver Slugger award. How did Olson accomplish this? He broke multiple franchise records such as most home runs in a single season and most RBI by an Atlanta Brave.
He completed the year with 54 homers, 139 RBI, 104 BB, and 167 K. More impressively, he ended the season with a 162 OPS+ which is absolutely unreal. Had it not been for the incredible seasons put up by Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, Olson may have been competing with Acuna for the NL MVP.
Braves fans can rest assured that they feature one of the best first basemen in all of baseball and he will be here for a long, long time.
Austin Riley was awarded with his second Silver Slugger award (2021 and 2023) on Thursday evening after another incredible season. Riley slugged 37 homers in his 2023 campaign with 97 runs batted in.
He was also one of the few bright spots offensively for Atlanta in the playoffs. He finished with a 128 OPS+ and showed exactly why the Braves locked him up for a decade.
Since the start of 2021, Riley has been the best offensive third baseman in all of baseball (minimum of 800 plate appearances). He is first in average(.286), homers (108), runs (298), OPS (.878), and WAR (18.6). He is ranked fifth in RBI with 297 of them.
It was an absolute pleasure to watch Riley become the player many expected him to be. It’s easy to see why Alex Anthopoulos wanted to keep him around for a while.
What a great evening it was for the Atlanta Braves. Seeing this team honored for such a special season will always be a joy. The only potential snub was Bryce Harper winning over Marcell Ozuna for NL DH but even then, Harper is a great hitter so it could have gone to either player.
Stay tuned to House That Hank Built as award season continues over the next week.