In 1980, a new award similar to the Gold Glove was created to award the players who had the best offensive season at each position. As the Red Sox have traditionally been a strong offensive team, it is not surprising that a number of players have won the award. In fact, the Red Sox have had a player at each position win the award. Obviously they have never had a pitcher win it, but every other position is represented.
TONY ARMAS - 1984
Armas had his best career season in 1984. The center fielder led the league in home runs (43), RBIs (123), and total bases (339), all of which were also career highs. He also led the league in strikeouts (156), but managed a reasonably decent .268/.300/.531 slash line. Armas was an All Star for the second time in his career and also finished seventh in the MVP vote. He might have finished higher had the team been a little better.
JASON BAY - 2009
Replacing Manny Ramirez is a tough thing to do, but Jason Bay did an admirable job. While he was nowhere near as flashy, he got the job done offensively, having one of the best seasons of his career playing left field for the Red Sox. Bay did not lead the league in any major category, but he did hit career highs in home runs (36) and RBIs (119), while hitting .267/.384/.537. He also stole 13 bases. Bay was an All Star and finished seventh in the MVP vote.
DON BAYLOR - 1986
The first Red Sox designated hitter to win the Silver Slugger Award was Baylor in the pennant-winning 1986 season. Baylor was acquired in a rare swap between the Red Sox and Yankees in which DH Mike Easler was sent to New York. Baylor led the team in home runs (31) and drove in 94 runs while hitting .238/.344/.439. He led the league in being hit by pitch an incredible 35 times.
ADRIAN BELTRE - 2010
After some disappointing seasons with the Mariners, third-baseman Beltre signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox to try to increase his value later on. And he had a terrific season. He led the league in doubles (49) and tied for the team lead in RBIs (102) and finished fourth in the league with a .321 batting average. Beltre also hit 28 home runs with an OBP of .365 and a slugging percentage of .553. He was an All Star and would have gotten some more MVP consideration had Boston been in contention.
MOOKIE BETTS - 2016
After a season in center field, Mookie moved to right field for the 2016 season and established himself as one of the best players in the league. He started the year as the leadoff hitter, but was such a major part of the offense that he was eventually moved into more of a run-producing spot in the lineup. Betts hit .318/.363/.534 with 31 home runs and 113 RBIs. He led the league in total bases (359) and hit 42 doubles and stole 26 bases. Betts was the MVP runner-up in 2016.
XANDER BOGAERTS - 2015, 2016
Part of the new wave of shortstop stars, Bogaerts has now won two Silver Slugger Awards in a row. His first award was due to him finishing second in the league in batting average. He did not hit a lot of home runs in his first award-winning season but he hit .320/.355/.421 with seven home runs and 81 RBIs while stealing ten bases. He also hit 35 doubles. In 2016, his power increased, but his other numbers declined. He still ended up with a .294/.356/.446 line with 21 home runs and 89 RBIs. He also stole 13 bases and had 34 doubles.
WADE BOGGS - 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991
Third-baseman Boggs won six Silver Slugger Awards with the Red Sox, and added two more with the Yankees. Boggs was not known for his power, but he had a terrific eye at the plate and won five batting titles. Four of those seasons saw him win the Silver Slugger Award. In 1983, Boggs led the league in average (.361) and OBP (.444). In 1986, he led the league in walks (105), average (.357) and OBP (.453). He had an unexpected power surge in 1987 when he added a career high 24 home runs and 89 RBIs to his league leads in average (.363), OBP (.461), and OPS (1.049). He had a huge season in 1988, leading the league in runs (128), doubles (45), walks (125), average (.366), OBP (.476), and OPS (.965). He failed to lead the league in batting average in 1989, but still led in runs (113), doubles (51), and OBP (.430). After an off season in 1990, Boggs rebounded in 1991 to hit .332/.421/.460.
ELLIS BURKS - 1990
Burks had a breakout season as the Red Sox center-fielder in 1990. His stolen bases were down, stealing just nine bases while getting caught eleven times, but he had a terrific season otherwise. Burks hit .296/.349/.486 with 21 home runs and 89 RBIs. He also scored 89 runs and doubled 33 times. He was named to the All Star team for the first time.
JACOBY ELLSBURY - 2011
Another Red Sox center-fielder, Ellsbury was always known for his speed, including stealing a team-record 70 bases in 2009. But in 2011, Ellsbury became a complete player and a superstar. He was the Red Sox first ever 30/30 man as he hit 32 home runs and stole 39 bases. He led the league in total bases (364) and hit .321/.376/.552, all career highs. He also had 212 hits, 119 runs, 46 doubles, and 105 RBIs, also all career highs. He was an All Star for the first time in his career and was the runner-up in the MVP vote.
DWIGHT EVANS - 1981, 1987
Evans was one of the best defensive right-fielders in Red Sox history and had his first great offensive season in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He tied for the league lead in home runs (22), and led the league in walks (85), OPS (.937), and total bases (215), while hitting .296/.415/.522 and driving in 71 runs. He split the 1987 season between right and first base and had his finest offensive season, leading the league in walks (106), and hitting .305/.417/.569 with career highs in home runs (34) and RBIs (123).
Part of a trio of young shortstops who rose to prominence in the late 1990's, Nomar only won the Silver Slugger in his rookie season. He was an easy choice for the Rookie of the Year by leading the league in hits (209) and triples (11). He hit .306/.342/.534 with 30 home runs and 97 RBIs. He also scored 122 runs, stole 22 bases, and doubled 44 times. He would be overshadowed over the next few seasons by Alex Rodriguez.
In his first season as the Red Sox first-baseman, Adrian Gonzalez led the league in hits (213), narrowly edging out teammate Ellsbury. Gonzalez had a career high in each of the slash line categories, hitting .338/.410/.548 and scored a career high 108 runs. He hit 27 home runs and drove in 117 runs. Gonzalez finished seventh in the MVP vote. Unfortunately it was his only full season in Boston.
Left-fielder Mike Greenwell was a somewhat surprising runner-up in the 1988 AL MVP race. He was quite a bit behind winner Jose Canseco, but Greenwell had a very good season. He led the league in intentional walks (18), and the arbitrary stat game-winning RBIs (23), while hitting .325/.416/.531 with 22 home runs and 119 RBIs. He also had 192 hits, 86 runs, 39 doubles, and stole 16 bases. He had a terrific eye, walking 87 times while striking out just 38 times.
Prior to the strike-shortened 1981 season, the Red Sox had a lot of turnover. One of the new players that paid off immediately was third-baseman Lansford who was acquired in a trade with the Angels. Lansford won the batting title and hit .336/.389/.439 with four home runs and 52 RBIs. He also stole 15 bases. He finished sixth in the MVP vote.
The signing of Mueller prior to the 2003 season flew under the radar at first, but he turned out to be one of the team's best signings. He did not start out the season as an everyday player but after Shea Hillenbrand was traded, Mueller took off. He ended up winning the batting title and hit .326/.398/.540 with a career high 171 hits, 45 doubles, 19 home runs, and 85 RBIs.
Ortiz has more Silver Slugger Awards than any other designated hitter. He won all seven awards with the Red Sox. In 2004, he hit .301/.380/.603 with 41 home runs and 139 RBIs in his major breakthrough season. He led the league in RBIs (148) in 2005 and hit .300/.397/.604 with 47 home runs. In 2006 he set a team record in home runs, leading the league with 54. He also led the league in RBIs (137), walks (119), and total bases (355) while hitting .287/.413/.636. In 2007 he led the league in walks (111) and OBP (.445), while hitting .332/.445/.621 with 35 home runs and 117 RBIs. He had a couple of down seasons but came back in 2011 to hit .309/.398/.554 with 29 home runs and 96 RBIs. He hit .309/.395/.564 with 30 home runs and 103 RBIs in 2013. In his last Major League season in 2016, Ortiz led the league in doubles (48), RBIs (127), and slugging (.620). He hit .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs. What a way to go out.
The AL MVP in 2008, second-baseman Pedroia was in just his second full Major League season. He led the league in runs (118), hits (213), and doubles (54). He finished second in the batting race and hit .326/.376/.493 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs. He also stole 20 bases and walked almost as much as he struck out. Pedroia was a rising star in 2008. His offense would be overshadowed by Robinson Cano afterwards, but for one season he broke through.
For the first six years after Ramirez was signed by the Red Sox, he won the Silver Slugger Award. All but one of those was as a left-fielder. He won it as a designated hitter in 2002. In 2001, he hit .306/.405/.609 with 41 home runs and 125 RBIs. He led the league in average and OBP in 2002 while hitting .349/.450/.647 with 33 home runs and 107 RBIs. In 2003, he led the league in OBP and hit .325/.427/.587 with 37 home runs and 104 RBIs. He led the league in home runs (43), slugging, and OPS (1.009) in 2004 and hit .308/.397/.613 with 130 RBIs. He hit .292/.388/.594 with 45 home runs and 144 RBIs in 2005. Finally, in 2006, he led the league in OBP and hit .321/.439/.619 with 35 home runs and 102 RBIs. He was also an All Star all six seasons.
Jim Rice was in the tail-end of his prime when he won his two Silver Slugger Awards in 1983 and 1984. The left-fielder led the league in home runs (39), RBIs (126), and total bases (344) in 1983, all for the last time in his career. He also hit .305/.361/.550 that season. His numbers declined a bit in 1984, but he still hit .280/.323/.467 with 28 home runs and 122 RBIs. He was an All Star both seasons. He would have a couple more good years before declining dramatically.
In a very underrated season, shortstop Valentin led the league in WAR (8.3), while becoming a 20/20 man. He hit .298/.399/.533 with 27 home runs and 102 RBIs in the strike-shortened season. He also hit 37 doubles, scored 108 runs, and stole 20 bases. Valentin walked 81 times compared to 67 strikeouts. He should have gotten more consideration for the MVP award.
The only Red Sox catcher to win the Silver Slugger to date is Jason Varitek in 2005. Varitek was at the end of a three-year string of great offensive seasons that season. It was not his best season, but he hit .281/.366/.489 with 22 home runs and 70 RBIs. He also contributed 30 doubles and scored 70 runs. That year also saw him named the starting catcher on the All Star team.
Though he likely did not deserve it, Vaughn won the AL MVP in 1995. He led the league in RBIs (126), though he was tied with Albert Belle. He was the major offensive force in the divison-winning Red Sox lineup, hitting .300/.388/.575 and hammered 39 home runs. He scored 98 runs and hit 28 doubles in the strike-shortened season. He also somehow stole eleven bases.
So here is the breakdown by position:
C: 1 (Varitek)
1B: 2 (Vaughn, Gonzalez)
2B: 1 (Pedroia)
SS: 4 (Valentin, Garciaparra, Bogaerts (2x))
3B: 9 (Lansford, Boggs (6x), Mueller, Beltre)
RF: 3 (Evans (2x), Betts)
CF: 3 (Armas, Burks, Ellsbury)
LF: 9 (Rice (2x), Greenwell, Ramirez (5x), Bay)
DH: 9 (Baylor, Ramirez, Ortiz (7x))
TOTAL SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS: 41