Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz voted 2019 Edgar Martinez outstanding designated hitter of the year

December 2nd, 2019

Major League Baseball announced today that Nelson Cruz of the Minnesota Twins has been voted the winner of the 2019 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. This marks the second career ODH Award for Cruz, who previously won with the Seattle Mariners in 2017. The right-handed slugger is the 10th player since the award was introduced in 1973 to earn multiple honors, joining Hall of Famers Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez and Paul Molitor, as well as Don Baylor, Willie Horton, Greg Luzinski, Hal McRae, David Ortiz and Dave Parker. He joins Baylor, Horton, Molitor and Parker as the only players to do so with multiple teams. In addition, Cruz joins Molitor (1996) and Chili Davis (1991) as the only players to win the award as a member of the Twins.

Cruz posted a slash line of .310/.389/.639 with 81 runs scored, 140 hits, 25 doubles, 41 home runs and 108 RBI across 114 games as DH for the Twins, helping Minnesota to a 101-61 (.623) record and an AL Central division title. Among American League designated hitters with at least 100 at-bats, the 39-year-old finished his strong season first in runs, hits, total bases (288), home runs, RBI, batting average and slugging percentage, while finishing second in on-base percentage and tied for second in doubles.

Cruz, who signed with Minnesota as a free agent prior to the 2019 campaign, was one of just three players to bat .300-or-better with at least 40 home runs and 100 RBI this past season. The six-time All-Star was joined by NL MVP Cody Bellinger, who batted .305 with 47 round-trippers and 115 RBI, as well as All-Star Nolan Arenado, who hit .315 with 41 homers and 118 RBI. Additionally, Cruz became the first Twins player, and just the second in franchise history to accomplish the feat, joining Roy Sievers (.301, 42 HR, 114 RBI), who did so for the 1957 Washington Senators. Nelson, who was the Twins’ finalist for the 2019 Hank Aaron Award, reached the 20-homer plateau for the 11th consecutive season, becoming the only Major League player to club at least 20 homers in each season since 2009. Overall, he became the 34th player in Major League history to hit 20-or-more home runs in 11 straight seasons. Led by Cruz, the “Bomba Squad” combined for an MLB record total of 307 home runs during the 2019 campaign. Minnesota captured its first division title since 2010, while the Club’s 101 victories were the second-most in franchise history, trailing only the 1965 Twins (102-60).

Jorge Soler of the Kansas City Royals finished second in voting after hitting .277 (109-for-393) with 77 runs scored, 25 doubles, 37 home runs, 84 RBI, 44 walks and a .623 slugging percentage over 107 games played as a DH for the Royals this past season.

Now in its 46th season, the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award was renamed by Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig in a September 2004 ceremony at Safeco Field in honor of the retiring Martinez. Ballots are cast by club beat writers, broadcasters and AL public relations departments with nominees including all players with a minimum of 100 at-bats as a designated hitter.

Previous winners include:
1973 – Orlando Cepeda (Boston)
1974 – Tommy Davis (Baltimore)
1975 – Willie Horton (Detroit)
1976 – Hal McRae (Kansas City)
1977 – Jim Rice (Boston)
1978 – Rusty Staub (Detroit)
1979 – Willie Horton (Seattle)
1980 – Hal McRae (Kansas City)
1981 – Greg Luzinski (Chicago)
1982 – Hal McRae (Kansas City)
1983 – Greg Luzinski (Chicago)
1984 – Dave Kingman (Oakland)
1985 – Don Baylor (New York)
1986 – Don Baylor (Boston)
1987 – Harold Baines (Chicago)
1988 – Harold Baines (Chicago)
1989 – Dave Parker (Oakland)
1990 – Dave Parker (Milwaukee)
1991 – Chili Davis (Minnesota)
1992 – Dave Winfield (Toronto)
1993 – Paul Molitor (Toronto)
1994 – Not awarded
1995 – Edgar Martinez (Seattle)
1996 – Paul Molitor (Minnesota)
1997 – Edgar Martinez (Seattle)
1998 – Edgar Martinez (Seattle)
1999 – Rafael Palmeiro (Texas)
2000 – Edgar Martinez (Seattle)
2001 – Edgar Martinez (Seattle)
2002 – Ellis Burks (Cleveland)
2003 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2004 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2005 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2006 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2007 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2008 – Aubrey Huff (Baltimore)
2009 – Adam Lind (Toronto)
2010 – Vladimir Guerrero (Texas)
2011 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2012 – Billy Butler (Kansas City)
2013 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2014 – Victor Martinez (Detroit)
2015 – Kendrys Morales (Kansas City)
2016 – David Ortiz (Boston)
2017 – Nelson Cruz (Seattle)
2018 – Khris Davis (Oakland)