2010 AL Silver Slugger Award Winners

What is the Silver Slugger Award?

First awarded in 1980 by Hillerich & Bradley, manufacturer's of Louisville Slugger bats, the Silver Slugger Award is a baseball award presented to the best hitter at each position in both the American and National League. Outfielders are given the award without regard to the actual position they play in the field, i.e. left field, center field, right field.

In the National League (NL), a Silver Slugger Award is presented to the best offensive pitcher and in the American League (AL) the award is presented to the best designated hitter (DH).

The winners are determined by coaches and managers of MLB teams, although they are not allowed to vote for players on their own team. Here are the American League 2010 Silver Slugger Award Winners:

Vladimir Guerrero

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Designated Hitter

After suffering multiple injuries over his last two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the 35-year old Guerrero had a career resurgence in his first season with the Texas Rangers.

Guerrero was in a prime position to succeed as he hit cleanup in the Rangers batting order after MVP candidate Josh Hamilton and before Nelson Cruz. Not only was 2010 a remarkable individual season for Vladimir Guerrero, but both he and the Texas Rangers made their first World Series appearance.

As a DH and part-time outfielder, Vladimir Guerrero had 178 hits, 29 HR and 115 RBI in 593 at bats, the most he had had in over five seasons. His .300 AVG, .345 OBP and .496 SLG were all below his career average yet were enough to hold off Jim Thome and David Ortiz and earn Guerrero the eight Silver Slugger Award in his 14-year career.

Joe Mauer

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Catcher

Now with four Silver Slugger Awards, three Gold Gloves and a AL MVP Award, Joe Mauer is stocking up on hardware like The Home Depot.

While his numbers were nowhere near what he accomplished for the Minnesota Twins in his 2009 MVP season, Mauer still was undoubtedly the best catcher in the American League in 2010. Joe Mauer had 167 hits along with 9 HR and 75 RBI. Both his RBI and HR numbers saw a significant decrease from his transition from the Metrodome to Target Field. He hit .327 and managed a .402 OBP and .469 SLG, down .120 from 2009.

Whether he will finish his career as a catcher or not is up to debate, but currently, Joe Mauer is on pace to crush Ivan Rodriguez record of seven AL Silver Slugger Awards and possibly match Mike Piazza's all-time record of 10 from the catcher position.

Miguel Cabrera

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First Base

Few first basemen have been better than Miguel Cabrera since he joined the Detroit Tigers in 2008. In fact, few players in all of baseball can match the stats that Cabrera has put up in his three seasons in the American League, yet he remains somewhat out of the spotlight. Miguel Cabrera is just now entering his prime, and were it not for the amazing season by Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, he would likely walk away with the 2010 AL MVP Award.

In 2010, Cabrera finished in the top three in the AL in all three Triple Crown categories. Miguel Cabrera smacked 180 hits, 38 HR and an astonishing 128 RBI to lead the AL. He hit .328 on the season with .420 OBP and .622 SLG. If the Detroit Tigers could return to prominence in the American League Central, it is likely that Miguel Cabrera would soon be discussed among the game's greats.

Robinson Cano

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Second Base

Most fans would be surprised to find out that with the many All-Stars and future Hall-of-Famers in the New York Yankees lineup, Robinson Cano was the team's only 2010 Silver Slugger Award winner. In the first two seasons of the new Yankee Stadium, Cano has developed a power stroke and put up sensational numbers as the team's second basemen. By developing into an elite run-producer, Robinson Cano has solidified his position in the lineup batting fifth behind Mark Texeira and Alex Rodriguez.

Only Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki had 200 or more hits in 2010 and Cano's 29 HR and 109 RBI were both career highs. He hit .319 throughout the season and maintained a .381 OBP and .534 SLG. Considering the lineup around him, expect Robinson Cano to carry this success into 2011 and beyond.

Adrian Beltre

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Third Base

Much like Vladamir Guerrero, Adrian Beltre experienced somewhat of a career resurgence by joining a new team in 2010. Throughout Beltre's 12 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners, he only once had a SLG over .500 and only twice hit more than 25 HR, whereas he accomplished both feats in his first season with the Boston Red Sox and won his second Silver Slugger Award at third base.

Adrian Beltre finished the season with 178 hits, 28 HR amd 97 RBI despite the team being without Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia most of the season. His .328 AVG was the second best of his career as was his .329 OBP and .568 SLG. Adrian Beltre is a free agent and the end of the season and likely earned himself a large contract that could take him away from the friendly confines of Fenway Park.

Alexei Ramirez

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Shortstop

For the first time since 2005, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees was unable to win the Silver Slugger Award for shortstop. Instead third-year player Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox walked away with the trophy and the best stats at the position in the American League.

It is the first time a shortstop from the American League Central Division has won the award since 1992 when Travis Fryman did it with the Detroit Tigers.

Not known as an offensive position, the shortstop class of 2010 in the AL did not disappoint. Alexei Ramirez had a mere 150 hits, 17 HR and 65 RBI in 534 at bats. His .282 AVG, .320 OBP and .430 SLG were all at or below career averages yet were enough to earn him his first Silver Slugger Award.

Josh Hamilton

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iamamemberofredsoxnation.mlblogs.com

Outfield

Josh Hamilton's redemption from alcohol and drug addiction has been widely documented and his story is very inspiring to not only baseball fans, but everyone.

What has been impressive to baseball fans is his play on the field with the Texas Rangers. Josh Hamilton had maybe the best all-around season in all of baseball in 2010 as he led the Texas Rangers to an American League Pennant and the franchise's first appearance in the World Series.

Were it not for missing close to 30 games, it is very possible Hamilton could have competed for the Triple Crown. As it is, he will likey have to settle with the Silver Slugger Award and AL MVP Award. He had 186 hits, 32 HR and 100 RBI in 518 at bats. His .359 AVG led all of baseball and his .411 OBP and .633 SLG were both the best of his career.

Jose Bautista

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Jose Bautista hit 13 HR in 113 games for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009. With that in mind, no one, not even that World Cup octopus, would have predicted that Bautista would lead the MLB in HR in 2010. Not only were his 54 HR more than he had ever hit in a season, they were 11 more than he had it in the last three seasons combined.

Of course nowadays anytime a player breaks out that big in terms of power the first thought is steroids, but Bautista credits it to a new approach at the plate that he started to develop in spring training of 2009.

In 2010, he had 148 hits, 54 HR and 128 RBI in 569 at bats. His .260 AVG, .378 OBP and .617 SLG were all the best of his career. After playing on 5 different teams in his first 5 seasons, it looks like Jose Bautista has found a home in Toronto.

Carl Crawford

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Known more as a speed demon and wizard with the glove, Carl Crawford put together a complete season in 2010 at the plate and in the field winning his first Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger Award with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Crawford had 184 hits, 19 HR and 90 RBI in 600 at bats at the top of the lineup. His .307 AVG, .356 OBP and .495 SLG were all above his career averages. As one of the only 5-tool players on this list, Carl Crawford added 47 SB to his 2010 stats and is one of the few players in baseball capable of reaching 100 SB in a season.

Time will tell if he continues to steal bags for the Tampa Bay Rays as he enters the offseason as the most coveted positional free agent in all of MLB with big-market teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim already expressing interest.

2010 NL Silver Slugger Award Winners

Click here for the National League Winners

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