We recently did a recap of Marcell Ozuna's 2023 season and how drastic of a turnaround he had after a horrific first month. It truly is one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen by an Atlanta Brave.
Every year, Major League Baseball hands out the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. This award recognizes the best designated bat across all of baseball. This year's winner was none other than AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.
This is the third season in a row that Ohtani has taken home the award. He is only the second player to achieve this since David Ortiz did so. Ortiz won it five seasons in a row at one point. Hal Mcrae and Edgar Martinez are the only other players to win the award three or more times.
The award was introduced back in 1973 and named after Martinez in 2004. Ohtani finished the season with a .304/.412/.654 line including 44 homers, 26 doubles, 8 triples, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs scored, and 95 RBI in 135 games. He led the AL in homers, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and total bases. So, it's easy to see why he won the award.
However, Atlanta Braves DH Marcell Ozuna received votes for the award and finished as runner-up for the prestigious award. Ozuna hit .274/.351/.567 with 40 homers, 29 doubles, and 100 RBI in 142 games as the Braves DH.
Quite the turnaround for a player who was batting .085 after the first month of the season. A lot of people were unsure if Marcell would remain with the team after the off-field issues and the underperformance on the field.
Ozuna turned it on after a series in Miami to begin the month of May and never looked back. This led to him being one of Atlanta's best bats and finding himself just behind Shohei Ohtani for the league's highest honor for designated hitters.
The Atlanta slugger won this award for the first time after his impressive performance during the 2020 season after MLB expanded the DH into both leagues.
Since the DH was recently added, Ozuna is the only NL player and Atlanta Brave to win the award. However, there are players who spent time in a Braves uniform who won the award during their time in the American League. Orlando Cepeda spent the 1969-1972 season with Atlanta. Cepeda went on to win the award in 1973 in the first year of the award while he was with the Red Sox at age 35.
Don Baylor, who served as Atlanta's hitting coach during the 1999 season, won the award in 1985 and 1986.
Those are the only other Braves adjacent representatives to win the award. I doubt Ozuna will be the last Atlanta Brave to compete for or win the award. We want to congratulate Marcell on an incredible season and being announced runner-up for such a historic award.