With the second-half of the MLB regular season to kick off tonight, it's time we looked at the first-half of the regular season. It's been filled with a plethora of great defensive plays, some historic milestones, a few teams and players that impressed while there were others that have disappointed thus far.
Here are my choices for the first-half Silver Slugger awards from the American League:
C - Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)
It's a tough call at the catcher position as there are many worthy options including one from Toronto and a pair of backstops from Detroit. However, the 25-year-old Carlos Santana is leading all AL catchers with 13 home runs and was a significant reason for Cleveland's surprisingly fast start to open the season.
1B - Adrian Gonzalez (Boston Red Sox)
Despite a slow start, Adrian Gonzalez has made quite a name for himself in his maiden season in Boston. Although his 17 homers rank third among AL first basemen, A-Gon's .354 batting average tops all first basemen, 35 points behind second-place Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox. Gonzalez leads all AL first basemen in eight other categories, including at-bats, doubles, RBIs and slugging percentage.
2B - Robinson Cano (New York Yankees)
Although Cano trails Angels' 2B Howie Kendricks is batting average, Cano lead all AL second basemen with 15 homers, 57 RBIs, 100 hits and a .521 slugging percentage. A-Rod, Jeter and Teixeira may all be having great years thus far but it is the play of Cano that's keeping the Yankees serious contenders in the American League.
3B - Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox)
His .285 batting average is second to Alex Rodriguez but Kevin Youkilis' 13 homers and 63 RBIs are a big reason why the Red Sox have had so much season over the last couple of months.
SS - Jhonny Peralta (Detroit Tigers)
Although he lost out to Asdrubal Cabrera as a starter in the All-Star Game, Jhonny Peralta has been the best shortstop in the AL so far in 2011. His 14 homers, 50 RBIs and .312 batting average are a big reason why the Tigers have found themselves back in the thick of the race in the AL Central.
OF - Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays), Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees), Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers)
The following three outfielders have led the way in home runs by American League outfielders. Jose Bautista is proving that his 2010 season was no fluke as he entered the break with 31 homers, the most by a Blue Jay after the first-half in franchise history. Granderson has hit 25 homers so far while Cruz is helping the Rangers lead the AL West with his 20 homers.
DH - David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox)
Call me bias if you will but David Ortiz has led the way among designated hitters with 19, ten ahead of the next closest. Johnny Damon of Tampa Bay certainly deserves some recognition but after the last couple of years which saw him struggle so much that many have wondered if he should retire, David Ortiz has returned with a vengeance and his Red Sox are benefiting from his big bat, as a result.