Pujols, Ludwick honored for offense

Pujols, Ludwick honored for offense

ST. LOUIS -- They were All-Stars together, and now Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick are together on another elite list.

The two Cardinals stars were named Silver Slugger Award winners on Thursday, identifying them as the top offensive performers at their respective positions in the National League. Pujols was named the top-hitting first baseman in the league, while Ludwick was rated one of the top three hitting outfielders along with Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday.

Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers, who voted for the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2008.

The Cardinals were the only NL team with more than one winner in 2008. It marked the first time since 2005, when pitcher Jason Marquis took home the hardware, that a Cardinal won a Silver Slugger. Pujols won for the fourth time, but the first since 2004.

Pujols, a leading candidate for NL Most Valuable Player honors, batted .357 in 2008 with a career-best .462 on-base percentage. He slugged .653, hit 37 homers, drove in 116 runs and scored 100. He drew 104 walks, his first time over 100, and struck out just 54 times.

Ludwick, in his first full Major League season, put up a line of .299/.375/.591, matching Pujols for the team lead with 37 homers. He tallied 113 RBIs and a team-best 104 runs scored.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

The specially designed Silver Slugger will be presented to each player by a representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball, in a ceremony early in the 2009 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league. The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by H&B in 1980.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.