Detroit Tigers: Former outfielder Justin Upton among Silver Slugger winners
Detroit Tigers fans saw one of the team’s former players take home a Silver Slugger on Thursday as Major League Baseball announced that Justin Upton won the award for the outfield in the American League.
Detroit Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila traded away a number of veterans leading up to and at both of Major League Baseball’s trade deadlines last season.
Working around both the non-waiver trade deadline and the waiver trade deadline, the general manager dealt outfielder J.D. Martinez, starting pitcher Justin Verlander, catcher Alex Avila and closer Justin Wilson.
All five players made a mark with their new teams as the quartet all played in the postseason.
One player who was traded who didn’t make into the playoffs was outfielder Justin Upton.
Traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in August, Upton had a career year at the plate.
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Production at the plate
In 635 plate appearances he hit .273 with a .361 on-base percentage, a .540 on-base percentage, a .378 wOBA, a 137 wRC+ and a .268 ISO.
He also turned in a 4.0 BsR, a 5.0 WAR, 35 home runs, 100 runs scored, 109 RBI, 14 stolen bases and an 11.7% walk percentage.
Upton’s 28.3% strikeout percentage obviously wasn’t ideal, but he did more than enough at the plate to make up for it.
All told, Upton turned in a 4.1 WAR in a Detroit Tigers uniform last season. That number led all Detroit players in 2017.
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The veteran was honored with a Silver Slugger award in the American League.
Major League Baseball announced the news in a tweet on Thursday night.
On August 31, Upton was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Tigers netted starting pitching prospect Grayson Long and a player to be named later in the transaction.
Long pitched to a 3.01 ERA and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 137.2 innings—innings predominantly spent at the Double-A level.
It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 23-year-old make his Major League debut sometime in the next year.
The player to be named later turned out to be fellow starting pitcher Elvin Rodriguez.
Rodriguez split 2017 in the Pioneer League and the Midwest League in Anaheim’s minor league system.
He ended the year with a trip of starts in Single-A Burlington against competition that was on average 2.9 years older than him.
Next: Interview with Detroit Tigers prospect Jake Rogers
The starting pitcher posted a 2.91 ERA and 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 68 frames.