V-Mart nominated for Hank Aaron Award
Victor Martinez spent the season supporting Miguel Cabrera in the Tigers lineup, but he’s going to have a chance to follow Cabrera finally getting a chance at some hitting awards of his own. Detroit’s designated hitter, who led the American League in OPS while finishing second in the batting race, has been nominated for Major League Baseball’s Hank Aaron Award, presented to the best offensive performer in each league.
Martinez was the Tigers’ nominee over Miguel Cabrera, who won the last two Hank Aaron Awards for the American League. On many other teams, Cabrera would’ve had a chance to defend his title. The way Martinez hit, however, simply overshadowed him.
Not only did Martinez set career highs at age 35, he put up the kind of numbers seen from a rare group of hitters his age, batting .335 with 32 home runs and 103 RBIs. He came the third-oldest player ever to post his first career 30-homer, 100-RBI season, trailing only Carlton Fisk and Edgar Martinez.
Add in 70 walks and 33 doubles, and Martinez’s .974 OPS beat out White Sox rookie slugger Jose Abreu for the Major League lead. Martinez nearly capped his season with a batting title, taking the race into the final weekend before losing out to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
The discipline from Martinez was eye-opening. He had more than twice as many two-strike hits (93) as strikeouts (42), batting .337 in those situations with 14 home runs. He had almost as many hits (eight) as strikeouts (nine) in 0-2 counts.
The stats suggest a winning case. To earn the award, however, Martinez will have to win the vote of fans and a panel of Hall of Fame hitters. Fans can vote for an AL and NL winner at MLB.com from now until Oct. 5. In addition, Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, Frank Thomas and Robin Yount will take part in the process.
The two winners will be announced during the World Series. The award, established in 1999, will also recognize Aaron’s accomplishments in breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record 40 years ago.