2010 NL 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 National League 2010 Silver Slugger Award Winners:

Yovani Gallardo

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Pitcher

After four years in the league as a starter with the Milwaukee Brewers, Yovani Gallardo has established himself as the Brew Crew's ace and one of the best young pitchers in all of baseball. Many experts and analysts believe Yovani Gallardo will win one or multiple Cy Young Awards before his pitching days are done.

Until then, it is his bat that is bringing in the hardware. In 2010, Yovani Gallardo had 16 hits, 4 HR and 10 RBI in 63 at bats and served as a pinch hitter for the team on multiple occasions. He hit .254 with a .329 OBP and .508 SLG while leading all National League pitchers in most offensive categories.

At only 24 years old, it is very likely that this 2010 Silver Slugger Award is the first of many in the career of Yovani Gallardo.

Brian McCann

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Catcher

In Bobby Cox's final season as manager for the Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann was his most consistent hitter. Not only did McCann solidify the middle of the Atlanta Braves lineup for the season and help lead them to the playoffs, but he also had the key hit in the All-Star Game to give the National League its first victory in 14 years.

During the 2010 regular season, Brian McCann had 129 hits, 21 HR and 77 RBI in 479 at bats. He hit .269 with a .375 on-base percentage and .453 slugging percentage.

2010 marked the fourth season that Brian McCann won the Silver Slugger Award from the catcher position, but he may have some competition in 2011 with young phenom, Buster Posey, hot on his trail.

Albert Pujols

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First Base

Due to his career numbers with the St. Louis Cardinals and reputation as the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols' 2010 season was considered somewhat of a down year. However, he still walked away with his fourth Silver Slugger Award at first base and should finish somewhere in the top three in votes for National League MVP. Not bad for a "bad" year.

Playing in almost every game, Albert Pujols accumulated 587 at bats and finished 2010 with 183 hits. He led the National League with 42 HR and 118 RBI while coming up just short of the Triple Crown with a .312 AVG good for sixth place. At .596, his slugging percentage dropped below .600 for only the third time in his 10-year career and his .425 OBP was one of his worst.

Albert Pujols will have to fend off Joey Votto, Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard for a fifth Silver Slugger Award in 2011.

Dan Uggla

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Second Base

Under the radar for most of his five-year career with the Florida Marlins, Dan Uggla made a lot of national noise in 2010 and won his first Silver Slugger Award at second base in the process. As the weather in Miami got hotter, so did Dan Uggla's bat, and he went on to hit 32 HR and 105 RBI in 589 at bats. Never known as a contact hitter, Uggla was able to finish 2010 with a .287 AVG, the highest of his career, and a .349 OBP and .488 SLG. Dan Uggla is currently a free agent, so time will tell whether he returns to the Florida Marlins in 2011 to compete for the Silver Slugger Award or joins another team or league.

Ryan Zimmerman

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Third Base

While the debut of Stephen Strasburg and his million-dollar arm dominated the media coverage and most news surrounding the Washington Nationals in 2010, Ryan Zimmerman was able to make some headlines of his own with his bat. Known more for his glove in the minor leagues, Zimmerman broke out with his bat in the major leagues in 2009 and continued in 2010.

In 525 at bats, Ryan Zimmerman compiled 161 hits, 25 HR and 85 RBI batting third in a very weak Washington Nationals lineup. He maintained a .307 AVG, .388 OBP and an impressive .510 SLG.

Minor injuries plagued Zimmerman in 2010 and as a result he played in 15 less games than he did in 2009. His stats hardly suffered from it and he was able to win his second Silver Slugger Award to complement his 2009 Gold Glove Award.

Troy Tulowitzki

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Shortstop

In his fourth full season with the Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki was able to fend off Hanley Ramirez, a 39-day stint on the DL with a broken hand and a rough start to the season in order to win his first Silver Slugger Award at shortstop. Most impressive was Tulowitzki's performance at the end of 2010. From September 1st on as his team competed for first place in the NL West, Troy Tulowitzki hit .303 with 15 HR and 40 RBI, the second highest total in a month to only Babe Ruth's 43.

For the entire regular season, Troy Tulowitzki had 148 hits, 27 HR and 95 RBI in only 470 at bats. His .315 AVG, .362 OBP and .568 SLG were all career highs.

Were it not for the broken hand that caused him to miss most of June and a July, it is likely that Troy Tulowitzki would be among Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and teammate Carlos Gonzalez as a serious contender for National League MVP.

Carlos Gonzalez

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Outfield

Acquired by the Colorado Rockies in the trade that sent Matt Holliday to the Oakland A's, Carlos Gonzalez really shined in his first full season with the team. Along with Joey Votto and Albert Pujols, Gonzalez, also known as CarGo, made a run for the National League Triple Crown in 2010.

While his road numbers were nowhere near as impressive as his stats at Coors Field, Gonzalez still had 197 hits, 34 HR and 117 RBI in 587 at bats. His .336 AVG was the best in the NL and his .598 SLG was second as he maintained a respectable .376 OBP. Although it is not a factor when considering the Silver Slugger Award, Carlos Gonzalez also contributed 26 SB to his team, making him the definition of a 5-tool player.

At only 25 years old, Carlos Gonzalez is nowhere near his prime and yet is likely to be among the top three for National League MVP votes in 2010 and possibly for many more seasons to come.

Ryan Braun

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After winning Rookie of the Year in 2007 with the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun has gone on to win the Silver Slugger Award the following three years and is on pace to surpass Barry Bond's record of 12. Somewhat of a down year in terms of power for the slugging left fielder, Braun still put up impressive numbers across the board and was able to showcase his trademark swagger for the home fans at Miller Park.

In 2010, Ryan Braun finished with the second most hits in the National League behind only Carlos Gonzalez with 188 along with 25 HR and 103 RBI. His .304 AVG, .365 OBP and .501 SLG were all at or below his career average leaving room for improvement as he enters his prime in 2011.

However, time will tell if Prince Fielder will return the team to provide the protection in the lineup that Ryan Braun has come accustomed to in his time in Milwaukee.

Matt Holliday

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After being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals at the 2009 deadline, Matt Holliday played almost perfect baseball by batting over .350 in 63 games and, along with Albert Pujols, helped carry the team into the playoffs. After a huge offseason contract, expectations couldn't have been higher for Matt Holliday in St. Louis and he didn't disappoint. While the Cardinals were unable to make the playoffs again thanks to the sensational season by the Cincinnati Reds, Holliday put up very similar numbers to his 2009 stats.

In 2010, he compiled 186 hits, 28 HR and 103 HR in 596 at bats hitting behind Albert Pujols. His .312 AVG, .388 OBP and .543 were all amongst the top in the National League. At 30 years old, it is unlikely that Matt Holliday will surpass his 2010 totals, but with numbers like that, Cardinals fans have to be happy.

2010 AL Silver Slugger Award Winners

Click here to find out the winners from the American League

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