SEATTLE – Nelson Cruz has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award, as announced by Major League Baseball on Thursday. This marks Cruz’s first career Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
“Nelson is truly deserving of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year Award,” said Martinez. “I see first-hand how his presence both in the clubhouse and in our lineup provide stability that makes his teammates around him better. While he goes about his work in a quiet way, we are glad that he is receiving the national recognition that he deserves.”
Cruz joins Edgar Martinez (1995, 1997-98, 2000-01) and Willie Horton (1979) as the only Mariners to win the award.
Cruz, 37, hit .288 (160 for 556) with 91 runs, 28 doubles, 39 home runs, 119 RBI, 12 HBP, 70 walks, a .375 on-base percentage, a .549 slugging mark and a .924 OPS in 155 games with the Mariners in 2017. He led the American League in RBIs with 119 while also ranking 4th in home runs (39), 5th in slugging (.549) and 5th in OPS (.924). He belted 38 home runs as a designated hitter, surpassing the previous club record set by Martinez in 2000 (37 HR).
In 146 starts at designated hitter in 2017, Cruz batted .293 (158 for 540) with 88 runs, 28 doubles, 38 home runs, 114 RBI, 12 HBP, 66 walks, a .378 on-base percentage, a .556 slugging mark and a .933 OPS. Among players with at least 250 plate appearances as a designated hitter in 2017, Cruz ranked 1st in batting, hits, runs, home runs, RBI, slugging, OPS and extra-base hits, T1st in doubles and 2nd in on-base percentage.
Cruz set career-bests in RBI, walks and on-base percentage in 2017 while leading the Mariners games, runs, home runs, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and extra-base hits. He also tallied at least 100 RBI for the 2nd consecutive season and the 3rd overall season in his career. He is one of 10 Mariners in club history with multiple 100-RBI seasons.
On October 2, 2004, Commissioner Bud Selig announced that Major League Baseball had renamed the Outstanding Designated Hitter Award as the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
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