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Miggy wins fifth Silver Slugger; Torii earns second

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera's fifth career Silver Slugger Award was about as safe of an assumption as possible among the postseason awards this month. So, too, was the Silver Bat that Cabrera won for the third straight win.

Torii Hunter's second career Silver Slugger was not. In fact, Hunter's honor was a pretty big surprise. At age 38, batting second in the Tigers' lineup, he put up numbers to push him ahead of the pack in a field of talented young hitters.

The result was yet another set of offensive hardware in Detroit. While the Tigers haven't won a Gold Glove since 2009, they've won six Silver Sluggers over the last four years.

Cabrera, meanwhile, became the first player to win three consecutive Silver Bat awards since Tony Gwynn from 1994-97, and the first American Leaguer to do it since Wade Boggs won four straight from 1985-88.

Like the Silver Bat, the Silver Slugger Awards are voted on by Major League managers and coaches who decide on the best offensive producers at each position. According to Louisville Slugger, the bat manufacturer that sponsors the honor, the selections are based on a combination of statistics -- batting average, on-base and slugging percentages -- as well as managers' and coaches' impressions of a player's offensive value.

Under that criteria, Cabrera was a no-brainer. All he did was become the first right-handed hitter to win three consecutive batting titles since Rogers Hornsby in the 1920s, lead the league in slugging percentage for the second consecutive year and top the Majors in on-base percentage for the third time in four years.

Cabrera's 1.078 OPS -- on-base plus slugging percentages -- was 74 points higher than his closest competition, Orioles slugger Chris Davis. Nobody else hit four digits. No other third baseman topped .900; Oakland's Josh Donaldson was the closest at .883.

Cabrera has won five Silver Slugger Awards at three different positions in two different leagues. This is the first time he has won the same Silver Slugger Award twice. His other Silver Slugger as a Tiger came in 2010 at first base. He won NL Silver Sluggers with the Marlins in 2005 and '06 as an outfielder and third baseman, respectively.

By contrast, Hunter has struggled over his career to add offensive honors to put alongside his nine consecutive Gold Gloves. He won both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger with the Angels in 2009, but that was it.

His numbers in his first season in Detroit, however, put him in the conversation. Only Mike Trout batted for a higher average among regular AL outfielders than Hunter's .304 mark. Hunter's .800 OPS ranked him third among AL outfielders with at least 140 games played. The other two, former Angels teammate Mike Trout and Baltimore's Adam Jones, won the other two AL outfield Silver Sluggers.

Add in Hunter's presence as the tablesetter for Cabrera, and he earned the nod to become Detroit's first outfielder with a Silver Slugger Award since Magglio Ordonez in 2007.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter