Brandon Lowe not named Silver Slugger finalist

We might have a slight bias toward Brandon Lowe here at Rays The Roof, but when the news came out on Monday that the second baseman was not named a finalist for the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award, we were noticeably infuriated.

Lowe had one of the best power-hitting seasons of any second baseman in MLB history and tied himself with Carlos Pena for the second-most home runs in a single season in Rays franchise history with 39.

To say Lowe was a surefire winner at second base is simply not true because Marcus Semien had the greatest power-hitting season of any second baseman ever, setting a new single-season record for home runs by a second baseman.

Semien, normally a shortstop, moved to second this season with the Toronto Blue Jays as Bo Bichette is and will be the franchise’s cornerstone shortstop for a while. He might not be a second baseman by trade, but the record will still stand.

Regardless, what Lowe did was remarkable, leading all second baseman in isolated power (ISO), walk rate, expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) and weighted runs created plus (wRC+).

He was tied for second in fWAR among second baseman in the AL with a 5.2 fWAR, second in OPS, slugging percentage, weighted on-base average (wOBA) and was third in on-base percentage and tied for third in runs scored.

Looking at his numbers overall, Lowe hit .247/.340/.523 with 39 HR, 99 RBI, 31 2B, 97 R, 137 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR, 11.1 walk rate, .277 ISO, .363 wOBA and a .357 xwOBA.

Three of the four finalists were solid picks: the aforementioned Semien, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and Jorge Polanco of the Minnesota Twins.

The fourth finalist is where there is a massive problem and even without that, Lowe should have been included in the list. Apparently, the coaches and players who vote in this thought DJ LeMahieu had a better offensive season than Brandon Lowe.

For those who didn’t know, the Silver Slugger Award is presented to the best offensive player at each position in both leagues every season.

LeMahieu was considered a league-average hitter in terms of wRC+. He posted a 100 wRC+, literally the league average. On top of that, he hit .268/.349/.362 with 10 HR, 57 RBI and didn’t lead second baseman in one category this season.

Among qualified AL second baseman, he was seventh in fWAR, t-sixth in wRC+, 10th in ISO, t-ninth in slugging, sixth in wOBA and fourth in xwOBA. His slugging, average and OPS were the lowest in his career since 2014. His average and slugging were the third-worst in his career and his OPS was the fourth-worst.

In the eight seasons where LeMahieu has played 100 games or more, his 160 hits were the fifth-best in his career. His 84 runs scored were only the sixth-best in his career. You get the point.

How Lowe wasn’t named a finalist based on all the information presented above about the player who was voted in over him is legitimately mind-boggling. It doesn’t make any sense and it won’t make any sense, but that’s the beauty of baseball, right?

Well, time to see what other way baseball can screw over Brandon Lowe next. Maybe they’ll just remove him entirely from the history books as a practical joke.

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