J.D. Martinez of the American League pennant-winning Boston Red Sox, and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, have been selected as the American League and National League winners of the 2018 Hank Aaron Awards, Major League Baseball announced Friday at a World Series Press Conference in Los Angeles attended by
J.D. Martinez of the American League pennant-winning Boston Red Sox, and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, have been selected as the American League and National League winners of the 2018 Hank Aaron Awards, Major League Baseball announced Friday at a World Series Press Conference in Los Angeles attended by Aaron.
Established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and recognize the most outstanding offensive performers in each League. Fans voted for therecipients on MLB.com, and for the ninth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined fans in voting for the Awards. The Hall of Fame panel includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time, such as Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers - who combined for 17,010 hits, 8,844 RBI and 2,275 home runs - were all personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each League.
"Christian Yelich and J.D. Martinez had outstanding offensive seasons that helped lead their teams to the best record in their respective leagues," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "Their memorable performances this season looked similar to the kind of numbers Hank Aaron put up throughout his extraordinary Hall of Fame career. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I would like to congratulate both players on their accomplishments and for receiving this prestigious award from a living legend."
"J.D. Martinez and Christian Yelich are very deserving of this award for their offensive achievements, which also attribute to their Clubs success this season," Hank Arron said. "J.D. and Christian are exciting to watch and are truly deserving of this award. I congratulate them both on their great efforts and results this season."
In his sixth Major League season, Yelich batted .326 and became the first player in Brewers franchise history to win a NL batting title. He also led the National League in slugging percentage (.598), on-base plus slugging (1.000) and total bases (343). Yelich won NL Player of the Week presented by W.B. Mason for the weeks of July 29th, September 2nd and September 23rd, while also winning NL Player of the Month presented by Budweiser in September. Compared with past National League players, Yelich is the 5th player in 17 seasons to be 26 years old-or-younger and bat .326 with 36 homers. This was also done by award namesake Hank Aaron in 1955 with the Milwaukee Braves, when he hit .355 with 39 home runs. Yelich was also two home runs and one RBI shy of being the first National League Triple Crown winner in 81 years.
In his eighth Major League season, Martinez led MLB in RBI (130), total bases (358), and was second in home runs (43), batting average (.330) and slugging percentage (.629). He also joined Hall of Famers Ted Williams (1949) and Jimmie Foxx (1938) as the only Red Sox players with at least 130 RBI, 43 home runs, and a .330 average at the plate. In addition, he was one of only three players in MLB to ever do that within their first eight seasons. Martinez's combined 130 RBI and 43 home runs were also the most by a Red Sox player since David Ortiz (2006). Martinez won AL Player of the Week presented by W.B. Mason for the weeks of May 20th, August 12th and also won AL Player of the Month presented by Budweiser in August.
Past winners of the Aaron Awards include Jose Altuve and Giancarlo Stanton (2017); Kris Bryant and David Ortiz (2016); Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper (2015); Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout (2014); Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt (2013); Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012); Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011); Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000); and Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).