Three-peat! Ohtani wins Outstanding DH Award again

November 30th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- keeps on racking up the hardware.

The two-way superstar’s latest accolade came on Thursday when he was announced as the winner of the annual Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. Ohtani previously was named the AL MVP for the second time in three seasons on Nov. 16 and also won the Silver Slugger at DH on Nov. 9.

It’s the third straight year Ohtani has won the DH award, a feat only accomplished by Hall of Famer David Ortiz, who won it five straight years from 2003-2007. Ortiz won the award a record eight times, while Hal McRae (three times) and Martinez (five times) are the only other players to win it at least three times. The award was first introduced in 1973 with the creation of the DH in the American League and was named after Martinez in 2004.

Ohtani, 29, batted .304/.412/.654 with 44 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs scored and 95 RBIs in 135 games. He led the AL in homers, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (1.066) and total bases (325).

He also did it despite missing most of the last month of the season after injuring his right oblique while taking batting practice on Sept. 4. He attempted to return to the lineup several times but was ultimately officially shut down for the season on Sept. 16.

Ohtani also tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while pitching in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 23, which will keep him from pitching until 2025. But incredibly, he didn’t miss any time as a hitter and was back in the lineup at DH for the second game of the doubleheader that day.

Ohtani, who is currently the most coveted free agent in MLB history, underwent surgery to repair his elbow in September but is expected to be ready for Spring Training as a designated hitter. He’ll again be considered a favorite to win the Edgar Martinez Award next year.

His top challenger this season was Braves DH , who hit .274/.351/.567 with 40 homers, 29 doubles and 100 RBIs in 142 games as a DH. Astros slugger is always a top candidate for the honor but has been playing more outfield in recent years, which hurts his numbers exclusively as a DH. Alvarez made 73 starts at DH and 40 in left field in 2023, hitting .284/.398/.571 with 19 homers and 57 RBIs as a DH.

Ohtani is currently weighing his options in free agency but has unsurprisingly kept it a secretive process. The Angels remain interested in re-signing him, but he has plenty of suitors and is expected to command the largest contract in MLB history.

Ohtani’s free agency is the biggest storyline in baseball heading into the annual MLB Winter Meetings, which begin on Monday in Nashville. When Ohtani will sign and which club he will sign with remains a mystery, but the general industry consensus is he’s not expected to drag out the process.