DETROIT -- A few weeks after Miguel Cabrera wrapped up his fourth batting title in five years, he has another piece of history, winning the Luis Aparicio Award for the fifth time.
The award, created in 2004 and named in honor of the Venezuelan-born Hall of Fame shortstop, goes each year to the best Venezuelan-born player in the Major Leagues. Cabrera beat out Astros second baseman and '14 winner Jose Altuve, a friend of Cabrera, in a close race.
Cabrera told reporters he was surprised by the award after the difficult season he battled through, from his Spring Training return from ankle surgery to a left calf strain that landed him on the disabled list for the first time in his career. He still churned out numbers that put him back in his usual place among the most productive hitters in the league.
Cabrera led the Majors with a .338 batting average and .440 on-base percentage, and finished second among AL players to Mike Trout with a .974 OPS. His 5.2 Wins Above Replacement (by the Baseball-Reference formula) placed him 10th among AL position players despite playing in just 119 games this season -- 107 of them at first base.
Cabrera also rated high in advanced offensive metrics, including Win Probability Added (third), Adjusted Batting Runs (fourth), Offensive Win Percentage (second) and Situational Wins Added (sixth).
The award is voted on by Venezuelan and international Spanish-speaking media that cover baseball. Fourteen different players received votes, including Rockies center fielder Carlos Gonzalez and Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. Cabrera's victory furthers his case as potentially the greatest Venezuelan-born player in history.
Cabrera will receive the award next month in Aparicio's hometown of Maracaibo, where the 81-year-old Aparicio is expected to be in attendance to congratulate Cabrera once more.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.