For a while, Billy Butler was a reluctant designated hitter, but now, he's acclaimed as the best in the business.

Butler, the Royals' DH, was named the winner of the 2012 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award on Tuesday. And it wasn't even close. Butler got 80 first-place votes among the 84 ballots cast.

Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays finished second in the balloting after a 42-home run, 110-RBI season.

It's the first time that Butler has won the award, and he became the fifth player to win the honor in the last five years. Boston's David Ortiz won last year, claiming his sixth award after dominating with five straight from 2003-07. Those who won in the intervening seasons were Texas' Vladimir Guerrero in '10, Toronto's Adam Lind in '09 and Baltimore's Aubrey Huff in '08.

Butler is just the second Royals DH to win the award. Hal McRae, credited with establishing the standard for the AL's innovation, was the top DH in 1976, '80 and '82.

Although signed as a third baseman, Butler switched to the outfield in the Minors and, in fact, played his first Major League game in left field. But he became a first baseman and longed to play that position for the Royals. However, his fate was sealed when, early in the 2011 season, the Royals brought up smooth-fielding prospect Eric Hosmer to play first base.