ARLINGTON, Texas - Jose Bautista remains the most valuable player in the American League in the eyes of baseball fans.
The Toronto Blue Jays star won his second consecutive Hank Aaron Award as the most outstanding offensive performer in the AL on Monday after votes by fans and a panel of Hall of Famers were tallied.
Bautista led the majors in home runs for a second year in a row with 43 and batted a career-best .302 with 103 RBIs.
The 31-year-old also led the majors in walks (132), slugging percentage (.608) and on-base plus slugging (1.056) to become the first player since Barry Bonds in 2001 to lead in four offensive categories.
"Jose's performance this year is not only a reflection of his tremendous talent but a testament to his work ethic and determination to be the best player possible. He is a true leader," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell in a statement.
Bautista shared the award with Los Angeles Dodgers star Matt Kemp, who won for the National League.
Kemp leading the NL in homers (39), RBIs (126), runs scored (115) and total bases (353). His .324 batting average was third in the league.
Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, a Toronto native, won the NL award last year. He was also nominated for this year's award.
Bautista joined Bonds and New York's Alex Rodriguez as the only players to win the award twice in a row.
The six-foot-one, 192-pound slugger won last year after exploding for 54 homers, and is the second Blue Jay to win the award after Carlos Delgado earned it in 2000.
"I am extremely happy for Jose," said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "He has established himself as a premier player in this league, and it's a testament to his hard work and desire. His accomplishments over the past two seasons have put him in an elite category and I congratulate him on his performance."
The award, which established in 1999 to honour the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home-run record, was handed out prior to Game 5 of the World Series.
Commissioner Bud Selig presented the award because Aaron is unable to travel while recovering from knee replacement surgery.
"The surgery went well. He's recovering comfortably, but he can't travel, and he's not going to be able to travel for a while," Selig said of Aaron. "He said it's the first time he's ever missed a game due to an injury. He wanted me to say that."