Two leading MVP candidates are being honored as the best hitters in their respective conferences.
Boston Red Sox now-retired designated hitter David Ortiz and Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant are the recipients of the 2016 Hank Aaron Award. Established in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth?s all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Awards are officially sanctioned by MLB and recognize the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.
?I congratulate David Ortiz and Kris Bryant on earning the 2016 Hank Aaron Awards,? MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. ?David created an extraordinary legacy with the Red Sox. Fans will never forget his consistent excellence at the plate and his performances on the game?s greatest stages. Kris followed up an award-winning rookie season by helping lead the Cubs to their best regular season in more than a century. Both David and Kris are deserving of an honor named for one of the greatest players and individuals that our game has ever known.?
Ortiz led all players with a .620 slugging percentage, a 1.021 OPS and 48 doubles in 2016. He batted .315 with 38 home runs, an American League-leading 127 RBI and a .401 on-base percentage. His 38 homers and 127 RBI were his most since 2006.
Bryant is the frontrunner for the National League MVP award, batting .292 with 39 home runs 102 RBIs, 35 doubles and an NL-leading 121 runs scored.
?It is an honor that the awards which distinguish the top offensive performers in baseball have my name on it,? Aaron said in a statement. ?I want to congratulate Kris and David on their terrific seasons and extend my thanks to the Hall of Famers and fans who once again helped select the winners.?
Ortiz previously won the award in 2005.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images