Mauer collects his fifth Silver Slugger Award
Twins All-Star among only seven catchers to receive as many honors
MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer added a fifth Silver Slugger Award to his trophy collection on Wednesday night, as he was honored as the best offensive catcher in the American League in 2013.
Mauer, who was also a finalist for the Gold Glove Award but lost out to Royals backstop Salvador Perez, was announced on MLB Network as the winner of his first Silver Slugger Award since 2010. He also was the recipient of the award in '06, '08 and '09.
"It's always nice to be selected and honored by the managers and coaches across the American League," Mauer said. "I take a lot of pride in my approach at the plate, and want to thank Louisville Slugger for the award and the Minnesota Twins for giving me the chance to play the game I love."
Mauer is just the seventh catcher to win at least five Silver Sluggers, joining Mike Piazza (10), Ivan Rodriguez (seven), Lance Parrish (six), Jorge Posada (five), Gary Carter (five) and Brian McCann (five).
The Silver Slugger, which was first awarded in 1980 and is given by Hillerich & Bradsby, the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats, is voted on by coaches and managers from both leagues, and voters are prohibited from rewarding players on their own team.
Mauer, 30, had another standout year offensively, as the St. Paul native hit .324/.404/.476 with 11 homers, 35 doubles, 62 runs and 47 RBIs in 113 games.
Mauer led qualified AL catchers in batting average and on-base percentage, while finishing tied for third in doubles, fourth in runs and ninth in both homers and RBIs. Among advanced statistics, Mauer also led all AL catchers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and weighted on-base average (wOBA), according to Fangraphs.com.
Mauer did it all while playing in only 113 games, as he saw his season end with a concussion sustained on a foul tip while catching on Aug. 19. The injury has put Mauer's future behind the plate in question, but the Twins have maintained he'll remain at catcher next year and that he's already past the concussion-like symptoms that ended his season.
But there's still a chance that Mauer will see his time at catcher diminish, as the Twins want to keep their best player healthy moving forward. The club has an opening at first base following the trade of Justin Morneau, now a free agent.
Mauer caught 75 games in 2013 after catching in 74 in '12 and 52 in '11. He last caught more than 100 games in 2010, when he was behind the plate for 112 games.
He was the lone award winner for the Twins, as Josh Willingham, who won a Silver Slugger in '12, endured an injury-plagued and unproductive season. The Twins also don't have any players nominated for any of the Baseball Writers' Association of America's four major awards.
Award season continues with the announcements of the winners for Rookie of Year on Monday, Manager of the Year on Tuesday, Cy Young on Nov. 13 and MVP on Nov. 14. The award shows will all air on MLB Network at 5 p.m. CT.