AL Aluminum Slugger Award Winners – 2022 Gallardo Awards

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Check out the other 2022 Gallardo Award awards here.

The M-SABR Gallardo Awards, originally conceived by alumni Cam Cain and Sahil Shah, are given to the worst players in baseball. The previous editions in 2018 (AL/NL) and 2019 didn’t mimic every MLB award. This changes in 2022.

This is the fifth article in the series, honoring the worst hitters in the American League. The Aluminum Slugger Award mirrors MLB’s Silver Slugger Award. The Mario Mendoza Award is given to the worst hitter overall. It’s our Hank Aaron Award.


C – Austin Hedges, CLE

Coincidentally, Austin Hedges won this award the last time we wrote one of these back in 2019 so at least we know he’s consistent. Hedges has never been much of a slugger, indicated by his career .189 batting average, but the bar was really lowered in 2022. 

The Cleveland catcher finished the year with a slash line of .163/.241/.248 which wasn’t only his worst full season of his career but also the worst in all three stats amongst catchers in the AL. Here’s a list of other stats Hedges finished dead last in at his position: OPS, wOBA, xwOBA, wRC+, BABIP, and wRAA. Hedges had the third lowest ground ball rate among catcher and was getting under the ball a decent amount. 

His strikeout and walk rate were slightly worse than league average but not enough to warrant this performance. So what was his problem? The issue can be traced to Hedges’s power. He had an average exit velocity of 84.2 MPH and hard hit rate of 22.3%, both well below the league average. 

1B – Spencer Torkelson, DET

Welcome the first of many Tigers to win an Aluminum Slugger this year. Torkelson’s inclusion here would shock most fans had you given them this information back when he was the team’s top prospect. While some struggle might have been easy to predict I don’t think anyone expected him to crash and burn as hard as he did. 

His game was supposed to be highlighted by his big bat, yet Torkelson posted a weak .319 SLG with only 8 home runs. He finished the year with -1.0 fWAR and even saw a demotion to AAA midway through the year with a recall granted when rosters were expanded. His 76 wRC+ was last in the AL at his position and 7th worst in the AL. Needless to say, Torkelson fell short of expectations in his first year in the big leagues.

2B – Jonathan Schoop, DET

Mario Mendoza Award Winner

Jonathan Schoop was the league’s best defensive player despite being robbed of a Gold Glove award. Lucky for him though he was also the league’s worst hitter which not only gets him an Aluminum Slugger but also the Mario Mendoza Award for worst offensive performance. 

Schoop was the cream of the crop when it came to crappy hitting this year. A 57 wRC+ was second worst in the MLB, his .245 wOBA was worst in the MLB, he had the third worst AL OPS; you get the point. Whatever your favorite hitting stat may be there’s a good chance Schoop finished in the bottom percentiles for it as he was bottom 10 or worse in BA, OBP, BB%, BABIP, along with the stats already listed above. 

Keep in mind this is not just for second basemen or AL players, this is among all qualified MLB players. The accumulation of all this is the reason why Jonathan Schoop is our 2022 AL Mario Mendoza Award winner.

SS – Andrew Velazquez, LAA

Velazquez was exceptionally awful, and had he played the entire year he might have even stolen the Mendoza Award from Schoop. Regardless, his performance was still worthy of landing him on this list. The Angels’ shortstop slashed .196/.236/.304 despite having a barrel rate in line with the rest of the league. Velazquez turned contact with the ball into a grounder 51% of the time, a metric not well complimented by his 43% first pitch swing rate. 

As for just pure stat finishes he was in the bottom seventh percentile for walk rate and WHIFF rate, bottom second percentile in strikeout rate and expected batting average, and in the worst percentile for xwOBA. He also finished with the third worst wRC+, only topped by other members of this list.

3B – Jeimer Candelario, DET

American League third basemen as a whole were not a very strong group but at the bottom was Candelario. His .217/.272/.361 line was by no means good but better than most of the other winners of this award at different positions. His 80 wRC+ was the lowest amongst players considered here. 

He also walked over two percent below league average. Candelario really struggled to hit the breaking ball this year as he swung and missed on almost 40% of the ones he saw. A change in scenery might benefit Candy however as his measly 10 home runs this year would have been 17 had he played in Nationals Park.

RF – Jackie Bradley Jr. BOS/TOR

Bradley bounced around the AL East but did not find success anywhere. He produces a slash line of .203/.255/.311 and an underwhelming 58 OPS+. His 56 wRC+ was worst in the MLB and a .268 xwOBA was bottom 2%. Some diver deeping shows that Bradley Jr.’s hitting flaws come against breaking balls and offspeed pitches where he had a .147 and .099 batting average respectively opposed to his .287 against fastballs. 

CF – Myles Straw, CLE

Myles Straw’s severe lack of power landed him on this list. He has insane discipline at the plate and it’s quite good defensively but unfortunately for straw that doesn’t matter when we isolate his hitting performance. The 28 year old barrelled the ball only three times the entire season leading to his underwhelming .273 SLG this year. The ball was leaving Straw’s at an average angle of 9.8 degrees which was over two degree less than league average which makes sense when you see he didn’t hit any balls out of the park this year and only has 5 homers in his career. 

LF – Robbie Grossman, DET/ATL

Grossman may have finished the year as a Brave but the bulk of his season took place in Detroit. However, the journeyman had no success with either team. Finishing with an 80 OPS+ and an 82 wRC+, he had the worst full season of his decade-long career. In previous years, Grossman exhibited extreme plate discipline; ironically, he did the same this season. Despite a 98th and 89th percentile finish in chase rate and BB%, he had the second-worst strikeout rate of his career and finished in the 16th percentile meaning Grossman simply struggled to hit anything this year.

DH – Miguel Cabrera, DET

Miguel Cabrera famously got his 3000th hit this year. But even that couldn’t save him from an appearance on this list. The future hall of famer started the year off hot but eventually cooled off finishing the year with a .254/.305/.317 slash line and the league’s lowest fWAR at -1.5. His 79 wRC+ was the worst of his career, he had the worst walk rate of his career, and his worst strikeout rate for an entire season. Fans knew that prime Miggy was gone but nobody expected it to be this bad for the former Triple Crown winner.



Categories: 2022 Gallardo Awards, Articles

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