Silver Slugger crowns Markakis' stellar year
Braves right fielder Nick Markakis won the Silver Slugger award Thursday night for the first time, capping what’s considered the most celebrated season of the 34-yearold’s career thus far.
The Silver Slugger award is given to the top offensive players at each position, voted on by managers and coaches.
Markakis was named to his first All-Star game in 2018 and also won the Gold Glove for his defensive efforts. He played a pivotal role on and off the field in the Braves’ surprising run to 90 wins and a division title.
The veteran, now a free agent, compiled a .297 batting average with 43 doubles, 78 runs scored and 93 RBIs. He was one of two players in the majors who started all 162 games this season, only the fifth Brave to do so.
Markakis’ 43 doubles ranked third in the National League. He was the first player in Braves franchise history to collect at least 35 doubles in four consecutive seasons.
And he did it all from the cleanup spot. Markakis’ power profile made him an unorthodox match hit- ting behind Freddie Free- man, but he handled the spot well, even on opening day when his three-run homer defeated the Phillies.
“I’m very honored to be named a Silver Slugger award winner,” Markakis said in a statement provided by the team. “It means a lot to be recognized by managers and coaches across the league, but I am particularly proud that I was able to contribute to the overall success of our team.”
Markakis’ award comes on the heels of Freddie Freeman being named Wilson defensive player of the year at first base. The honor comes shortly after he won the Gold Glove for first base in the National League, tying Anthony Rizzo to split the distinction.
Freeman has long been one of the best defenders at his position despite a lack of acknowledgment. In 2018, he produced 12 defensive runs saved and a 7.8 ultimate zone rating, both best among eligible NL first basemen.
“It’s a great honor to win the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award,” Freeman said in a statement. “Defense plays such an important part in winning games, and as an organization we had a goal coming into this season to improve ours. We are thankful for the efforts of our analytics department, and for our coaches who dedicated time to working with us every
to help us get better.” The Braves hadn’t had a Wilson defensive player of the year since Andrelton Simmons won the award three times (2013-15).
Nick Markakis was a firsttime All-Star this season, and now he has Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards, too.