J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have received 2018 American League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards. Betts earned the honor as an outfielder, while Martinez was recognized as both an outfielder and as a designated hitter, becoming the first player in the award's 39-year history to earn two Silver Slugger Awards
J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts have received 2018 American League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards. Betts earned the honor as an outfielder, while Martinez was recognized as both an outfielder and as a designated hitter, becoming the first player in the award's 39-year history to earn two Silver Slugger Awards in a single season. The announcement was made tonight by Louisville Slugger on MLB Network.
The Silver Slugger Award honorees are selected in a vote by Major League coaches and managers. The Red Sox led the American League with three winners, matching the Colorado Rockies for the most in MLB. This is the fourth time the club has featured three winners in a single season, having also done so in 2005, 2011, and 2016. Boston has been represented on the AL Silver Slugger Team in 15 of the last 18 seasons since 2001; Red Sox players have won 44 Silver Sluggers in the award's 39 years of existence (1980-2018).
Players have received Silver Slugger Award votes at multiple positions in past years, but Martinez is the first player to win the award twice in the same season. Also a 2015 winner as an outfielder with the Detroit Tigers, Martinez led the majors with 130 RBI and 358 total bases in 2018, as he hit .330 (188-for-569) with 37 doubles, 43 home runs, 111 runs scored, and a 1.031 OPS. Named the 2018 Hank Aaron Award winner for the AL as the league's top offensive performer, Martinez was the only player in the junior circuit to hit at least .300 with 100 RBI and 100 runs scored. He also started the All-Star Game at Nationals Park, batting cleanup as the AL's designated hitter.
Martinez started 93 games at designated hitter and 57 in the outfield. As an outfielder, he hit .384 (84-for-219) with 16 home runs, 51 RBI, and a 1.130 OPS. As a designated hitter, Martinez batted .297 (104-for-350) with 27 home runs, 79 RBI, and a .970 OPS. His 43 home runs are the most ever for a player in his first season with the Red Sox, as he joined Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx as the only Red Sox ever to hit at least .330 with 40 homers and 130 RBI. In 14 postseason games, Martinez hit .300 (15-for-50) with three home runs, 14 RBI, and a .403 on-base percentage, homering in the clinching games of both the ALCS and the World Series.
This is the second Silver Slugger Award for Betts, who also represented Boston in 2016 as an outfielder. He is the seventh Red Sox player to win the award in multiple years, joining David Ortiz (7), Wade Boggs (6), Manny Ramirez (6), Xander Bogaerts (2), Dwight Evans (2), and Jim Rice (2). Betts and Evans are the only players ever to win multiple Silver Slugger Awards and multiple Gold Glove Awards in a Red Sox career.
In 2018, Betts led the majors in batting average (.346; 180-for-520) and slugging percentage (.640), becoming the first Red Sox player to accomplish that feat since Ted Williams in 1957. Betts added 42 doubles, five triples, 32 home runs, 129 runs scored, 80 RBI, and 30 steals, as he ranked second in MLB in on-base percentage (.438), OPS (1.078), and extra-base hits (84). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the only player ever to win a batting title in either league during a season in which he also recorded at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Betts was the only AL player in 2018 to hit for the cycle-a feat he accomplished on August 9 at Toronto-and was the only major leaguer hit three home runs in a game multiple times. He scored 13 runs in 14 postseason games, homering in Game 5 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium.