Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Kansas City slugger Billy Butler has been selected as the winner of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter award.
In balloting among club beat writers, broadcasters and American League public relations departments, Butler received 80 first-place votes out of a possible 84 to beat Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, who received 35 second-place votes.
Butler, who's been the subject of some trade rumors at baseball's Winter Meetings, batted .313 with 32 doubles, 29 home runs, 107 RBI and 72 runs scored in 161 games for the Royals this past season. He became the eighth Royal to hit at least .300 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI, but the first since Carlos Beltran did so in 2003. Butler's 29 home runs were also the most by Royals player since Jermaine Dye blasted 33 in 2000.
The 26-year-old established career-bests in games, at-bats, hits, homers, RBI, slugging and total bases (313), leading his club in all three Triple Crown categories.
Among qualifying designated hitters with at least 100 at-bats, Butler finished first in games played (138), at-bats (538), runs scored (61), base hits (170), doubles (29), RBI (93), batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.371) and slugging percentage (.501). In addition, he was second in homers (23) and stood third in walks (42).
Butler becomes the second Royals player to be named the league's top DH, joining three-time winner Hal McCrae, who the award in 1976, 1980 and 1982.
The award, which has been presented since the inception of the designated hitter in 1973, was re-named in honor of Martinez in 2004.