Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez has been voted the Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month for August. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and sponsor of 24 of 30 clubs, is also the presenting sponsor of the National League Player of the Month Award.
En route to winning his first Player of the Month trophy, Martinez batted .350 (41-for-117) with five doubles, six home runs, 30 RBI and 20 runs scored, striking out just seven times in 117 at-bats over 31 games. The last Tiger to garner A.L. Player of the Month honors was Victor's teammate, two-time Most Valuable Player and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, in August 2013. Among Major League hitters, the switch-hitting Martinez led in RBI, intentional walks (7) and times on base (61), and was tied for first with Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison and Minnesota rookie Danny Santana in hits. Amidst his A.L. mates with a minimum of 84 plate appearances, Victor was second in batting average, total bases (64), plate appearances per strikeout (19.71) and at-bats per RBI (3.90); was third in on-base percentage (.442); fourth in walks (19); sixth in slugging percentage (.547); and was tied for seventh in homers. The 35-year-old put together a pair of seven-game hitting streaks and tallied 14 multi-hit games over the month. In addition, Martinez has not gone hitless in back-to-back games since going without a hit in both ends of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians on July 19th.
Among his highlights, the Venezuela native went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer to back a four-hit gem from the Tigers pitching staff as they defeated the Colorado Rockies, 4-0, on August 3rd at Comerica Park. It was Victor's second three-run shot in as many days after he launched one the previous night in an 11-5 win over Colorado. Staying in the Motor City, the five-time All-Star singled three times and drove in three as Detroit doubled up the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-4, on August 13th to halt a four-game slide. On August 20th, Martinez went 2-for-3 with an RBI-double and his fourth career grand slam to guide the Tigers to a 6-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The bases-loaded smash was Victor's first grand slam since June 22, 2013 vs. Boston. Of note, Martinez is 3-for-4 (.750) with 10 RBI and three walks in seven plate appearances with the bases packed this season. Moving over to Minnesota for an August 24th tilt with the Twins, Martinez went 3-for-6 with a pair of singles and a two-run blast as Detroit won, 13-4. The homer was his 25th of the season, tying a career best previously set in 2007 while with Cleveland. Victor moved past his single-season mark for homers with his 26th blast on August 27th against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park.
Martinez has put together one of the finest offensive campaigns in the A.L. so far in 2014, batting .332 with 28 doubles, 28 homers, 90 RBI and 75 runs scored in 127 games. He ranks first in on-base percentage (.402) and intentional walks (23); second in batting average and slugging percentage (.566); third in total bases (271); tied for fourth in times on base (219); seventh in hits (159) and RBI; and is tied for seventh in homers and extra-base hits (56). He is also batting .313 with seven extra-base hits and 24 RBI with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Others receiving votes this month included Houston's Chris Carter (.270, 12 HR, 29 RBI); Kansas City's Alex Gordon (.292, 9 HR, 16 RBI); Chicago's Jose Abreu (.376, 2 HR, 16 RBI); and Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe (.317, 10 2B, 5 HR, 24 RBI).
The Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month, Victor Martinez, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.