AFL Silver Sluggers
In case you didn’t see it, the 2005 Silver Slugger Award Winners were just announced. Not that you needed any more proof that the AFL helps develop top-flight talent in the big leagues, seven of the 18 winners this year spent some time in Arizona during falls past.
It seems that 1998 was a good year for Silver Sluggers. Alfonso Soriano played for Grand Canyon that year, probably as a shortstop. On the left side of the infield with him was third baseman Morgan Ensberg. Carlos Lee played for Phoenix when he was still a White Sox prospect and Michael Barrett, then with the Expos organization, played for Scottsdale.
Derrek Lee and Jason Varitek were AFL opponents for two consecutive seasons. Lee represented the Padres in 1995 and 1996 with Scottsdale; Varitek was a Mariners prospect when he played for Peoria in those seasons.
The most recent AFL graduate among the Slugger winners is Mark Teixeira. He played for Peoria back in 2002.
All-time batting average record: .292 (2004)
2005 average: .297
All-time worst ERA: 5.32 (2004)
2005 ERA: 5.48
All-time homers: 243 (1997)
2005 homers: 150 (on pace for 209)
Note on homers: The record for homers per game is 1.82, set in 2001. This year, balls are going out at the rate of 2.17 per game.
All-time runs per game: 12.07 (2004)
2005 RPG: 12.38