11/21/11 2:32 PM EST
Bautista honored with multiple awards for 2011
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Bautista won the 2011 Hank Aaron Award as the best offensive player in the American League, and he also picked up a Silver Slugger Award in the outfield for his performance at the plate.
The 31-year-old received those honors by following up a breakout campaign in 2010 with an arguably better season in '11. Bautista hit .302 with 103 RBIs, while posting a MLB-leading 43 home runs and 132 walks.
Bautista also led the AL in slugging percentage (.608) and OPS (1.056) in 149 games. He's the first player since Mark McGwire (1996-99) to lead the Majors in homers for consecutive seasons, and his 132 walks are the most since Barry Bonds also drew 132 in 2007.
The Dominican native finished third in the AL Most Valuable Player Award voting behind Detroit's Justin Verlander and Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury.
The AL MVP Award was voted on by select members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America at the end of the season. Bautista's offensive numbers warranted serious consideration, but his chances may have been hurt by Toronto's fourth-place finish in the AL East.
Bautista also received the MLB.com Player of the Year Award for the Blue Jays. He was joined by left-hander Ricky Romero, who won the Pitcher of the Year category, and Brett Lawrie, who received the Breakout Player of the Year.
Romero took over as the ace of Toronto's pitching staff this season following the offseason trade of Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee. Romero responded by going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA in 32 starts.
The 15 wins represented the most of Romero's career and he also surpassed career highs in innings (225), strikeouts (178), and his 176 hits allowed were his lowest mark in three years. Those numbers included a stretch from July 21-Aug. 29 when he was 5-0 and went eight starts between losses.
Lawrie, who was sent to Toronto in the trade for Marcum, became one of the club's biggest storylines in 2011. He began the season in the Minor Leagues and was set to join the club at the beginning of June until a fractured left hand sent him to the disabled list.
The native of Langley, British Columbia, eventually made his Major League debut on Aug. 5 and took the league by storm. He hit .293 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 43 games, while exceeding expectations in the field with a strong performance at third base. Lawrie also posted a .953 OPS, with eight doubles and four triples.
Lawrie's season was cut short in late September after he broke a finger on his right hand while going through fielding drills. Despite the injury woes, Lawrie recorded some of Toronto's most memorable moments, including a go-ahead eighth-inning grand slam against Oakland on Aug. 10 and a walk-off homer against Boston on Sept. 5.