J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich win 2018 Hank Aaron Awards

J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox and the Brewers’ Christian Yelich are the recipients of the 2018 Hank Aaron Award for their respective leagues, Major League Baseball announced Friday.

The award, recognizing the most outstanding offensive performer in each league, was established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. Winners are determined by fans voting on MLB.com along with a panel of Hall of Fame players.

[email protected], @ChristianYelich take home the 2018 Hank Aaron Award for best offensive performers in AL, NL. pic.twitter.com/JQ4qrPVMLF

Martinez led the majors in RBIs (130), total bases (358) and was second in home runs (43), batting average (.330) and slugging percentage (.629). The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season to become the seventh American League team to achieve that feat.

“From where I was five years ago to today. It’s truly a blessing,” said Martinez, while Aaron looked on. “To just be on the podium and be next to him and receiving his award is an honor and it’s huge.”

J.D. Martinez and Christian Yelich with Hank Aaron for the presentation of the Aaron Award. pic.twitter.com/g1PXdz39Vd

Yelich flirted with becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the National League in 81 years but fell two home runs and one RBI short. In addition to leading the league with a .326 average, Yelich led the NL in slugging percentage (.598), on-base plus slugging (1.000) and total bases (343). He hit 36 home runs and drove in 110 runs.

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Yelich joined Martinez in Los Angeles for the announcement. Yelich’s Brewers advanced to Game 7 of the NLCS before falling to the Dodgers.

“You’re just humbled to win an award like this and be up here with the caliber of players that not only J.D. is but you were in your career,” said Yelich, turning toward Aaron. “My goal going in was to be the player [Milwaukee] traded for — nothing more, nothing less — and just contribute to what they already had going there. It was an unbelievable year, it was a lot of fun. And we came one game away from being in the World Series.”

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