Ohtani named American League MVP

ANAHEIM–Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani was named the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player in an announcement made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). It marks the first career A.L. MVP award for Ohtani, who previously won the 2016 Most Valuable Player Award in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.

Ohtani garnered all 30 first place votes for a total of 420 points in the balloting process, 151 points ahead of second place finisher Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays (269 points). Ohtani becomes just the 19th unanimous winner of a BBWAA MVP Award (11th in A.L. history) and the first since Bryce Harper won N.L. MVP honors in 2015.

He becomes the second Japanese-born player to receive MVP honors in the Major Leagues, joining Ichiro Suzuki (2001). Additionally, he is just the third starting pitcher to win A.L. MVP in the last 50 years, following Roger Clemens (1986) and Justin Verlander (2011).

Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani  was named the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player. Credit: Los Angeles Angels
Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani was named the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player. Credit: Los Angeles Angels

The 27-year-old captures the Angels sixth MVP award in franchise history, following Don Baylor (1979), Vladimir Guerrero (2004) and Mike Trout (2014, 2016 & 2019). The Angels are the first team to win four MVP awards in an eight-year span since San Francisco won five straight with Jeff Kent (2000) and Barry Bonds (2001-04) and the first A.L. team since the Texas Rangers with Juan González (1996, 1998), Iván Rodríguez (1999) and Alex Rodriguez (2003).

As a hitter, Ohtani ranked in the Top 10 in the American League in triples (8; 1st), extra-base hits (80; 2nd), slugging (.592; 2nd), OPS (.965; 2nd), home runs (46; 3rd), walks (96; 3rd), total bases (318; T4th), stolen bases (26; 5th), OBP (.372; 5th) and runs scored (103; 8th).

On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA (130.1 IP – 46 ER) and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts, while holding opponents to a .207 average (98/473). He led the Majors with a 9.1 bWAR and became the first player in MLB history to record 10+ HR as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts as a pitcher in the same season.

This summer, Ohtani became the first MLB player to ever be selected to the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player and started the game as both the A.L. starting pitcher and designated hitter. Additionally, he was named the American League Player of the Month for both June and July, becoming the first player to win consecutive A.L. Player of the Month Awards since Josh Hamilton (April/May 2012).