BOSTON -- J.D. Martinez had such an impressive offensive season that he pulled off an unprecedented feat on Thursday, becoming the first player to win American League Silver Slugger Awards at two positions in the same season.The right-handed-hitting masher, who helped the Red Sox win the World Series, received Silver
BOSTON -- J.D. Martinez had such an impressive offensive season that he pulled off an unprecedented feat on Thursday, becoming the first player to win American League Silver Slugger Awards at two positions in the same season.
The right-handed-hitting masher, who helped the Red Sox win the World Series, received Silver Slugger Awards at designated hitter and outfielder.
The announcement came just three days after many were stunned when Martinez was not selected as one of the top three finalists for the AL Most Valuable Player Award, which will be announced next Thursday.
• 2018 Silver Slugger Award winners
Each year, Louisville Slugger recognizes the best offensive player at each position (including three outfielders) in both leagues with Silver Slugger Awards. The winner is determined by managers and coaches throughout MLB, and voters aren't eligible to select players on their own team.
In the previous 38 seasons in which the Silver Slugger Award has existed, no player had ever been victorious at two positions.
How did Martinez do it?
For starters, Martinez was a force all season, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 37 doubles and 43 homers, while posting Major League highs with 130 RBIs and 358 total bases.
And Martinez's playing time was split just enough between DH and the outfield for him to rack up enough votes at both positions.
Martinez started 93 games at DH and had 350 at-bats. He had 57 starts in the outfield (32 in left and 25 in right) while accumulating 219 at-bats.
Winning at both positions was made possible by the way Martinez seemed to rake whenever he got to play defense. In those 57 outfield starts, Martinez slashed .384/.450/.680 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs. As a DH, his line was .297/.373/.597 with 27 homers and 79 RBIs.
It is rare for a player to even get votes at multiple positions. It happened in 2017 for Nelson Cruz (OF and DH) when he won at DH. Edwin Encarnacion received votes in '15, '16 and '17 at first base and DH, but he didn't win at either position in those three years.
Martinez wasn't the only Silver Slugger Award winner for the World Series-champion Red Sox. Superstar outfielder Mookie Betts won the award for the second time in his career. Betts is one of the finalists for the AL MVP Award.
The 26-year-old Betts was a force in every aspect of the game, winning the batting title with a .346 average while belting 32 homers and stealing 30 bases.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.