NEW YORK -- Louisville Slugger has presented former Indianapolis Indians standouts Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh Pirates), J.J. Hardy (Baltimore Orioles) and Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates) as winners of a 2013 Silver Slugger Award, which is awarded to the top hitter at each position in both the American and National League. The accolade marks the second consecutive Silver Slugger Award for center fielder McCutchen and the first career honor for shortstop Hardy and third baseman Alvarez.
The 27-year-old McCutchen finished seventh in the league and first among NL center fielders with a .317 average on the season. He also paced all league center fielders with 84 RBI and a .508 slugging percentage, ranked second with a .404 on-base percentage and 97 runs scored and was tied for second with 21 homers.
Even more impressive, McCutchen, who posted a .327 average, .400 OBP and .553 SLG last year, is now just the fourth center fielder in MLB history with a slash line of at least .300/.400/.500 in consecutive seasons. His 2012-13 campaigns join Mickey Mantle (1954-58), Willie Mays (1954-55) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993-94) as the only center fielders to accomplish such a feat.
McCutchen displayed a similar prowess at the plate during his tenure in Indianapolis. From 2007-09, he played in 201 games with the Indians, batting a combined .286 with 40 doubles, 11 triples, 14 homers and 75 RBI. Along with leading all Tribe batters with 145 hits in 2008, McCutchen also earned a spot in that season's Triple-A All-Star Game, where he was named the contest's MVP after going 2-for-2 with two RBI.
Alvarez, the Pirates' 26-year-old slugger, established new career highs with 36 homers and 100 RBI in 2013, both of which were by far the most of any NL third baseman. His closest league competitor in homers, Ryan Zimmerman, finished 10 longballs shy of Alvarez, while Martin Prado's second-ranked RBI count fell 18 short of the first 100-RBI season of El Toro's career. Additionally, Alavarez's 36 total home runs are the most of any NL third baseman over the last four seasons, and only Mark Reynolds (2009) has clubbed more long balls in a single season at the NL's hot corner since the 2007 campaign.
With his award, Alvarez is the first Pittsburgh third baseman to take home a Silver Slugger since Bobby Bonilla in 1988.
The slugger's quick rise to the Major League level featured stops in Indianapolis during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In just his second year of professional baseball, Alvarez tied for fourth in the International League with 13 homers during his Triple-A debut with the Indians from April 8 - June 15, 2010 (66 games). After reaching the big leagues later that season, the third baseman returned to the Tribe for part of the 2011 campaign, where he knocked five dingers with 19 RBI over 35 IL contests.
For the Baltimore Orioles, Hardy rounded out the 'Birds' trio of Silver Slugger Award winners. The power-hitting shortstop posted his third consecutive 20-homer season, launching 25 home runs and driving in 76 runs, both of which ranked as the most among all American League shortstops. Hardy also compiled the second-best slugging percentage (.433) and was tied for the fifth-most runs scored (66) of all shortstops in the league.
Hardy is the third Orioles shortstop to win a Silver Slugger, joining Cal Ripken Jr. (eight times) and Miguel Tejada (twice).
Tribe fans last caught a glimpse of Hardy in an Indians uniform during the franchise's Milwaukee affiliation in 2004. During that season, Hardy produced a .277 clip at the plate with 10 doubles, four homers and 20 RBI in 26 games with Indianapolis, while also coaxing an impressive nine walks to only eight strikeouts during that span. Since then, Hardy has seen action in just three additional IL games to date, hitting safely in two of those three contests with the Norfolk Tides at Victory Field against his former team in 2011.
Following the Silver Slugger Awards announcements, the next slate of accolades will be selected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and include the four major honors of Rookie of the Year (Monday), Manager of the Year (Tuesday), Cy Young (Nov. 13) and MVP (Nov. 14). Former Tribe star McCutchen has already been named a finalist for the NL MVP and current Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle is one of three skippers still in the running for NL Manager of the Year.