Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Twins were informed today that Nelson Cruz has been named the winner of the Edgar Martinez Award for most Outstanding Designated Hitter of 2019. The 39-year-old joins Chili Davis (1991) and Paul Molitor (1996) as the only Twins to ever win the award. This marks Cruz’s second time winning the award after earning it in 2017 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
Cruz played in 120 games, hitting .311 (141-for-454) with 26 doubles, 41 home runs, 108 RBI, 81 runs scored, 56 walks and a 1.031 OPS – the best of his 15-year career and matching the Twins all-time record. His home run and RBI totals, all collected as a designated hitter, set Twins single-season records for the position. Among all American League designated hitters, Cruz ranked first in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
Additionally, among all AL players, Cruz ranked second in OPS and slugging percentage (.639), tied for third in home runs, sixth in batting average and seventh in RBI, joining Boston’s J.D. Martinez as the only two players to rank in the top-10 for all three AL Triple Crown categories. He also joined Hank Aaron (1963) and Barry Bonds (2003 and 2004) as the only three players in baseball history to hit 40 homers at age 39-or-older.
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.