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Shohei Ohtani joins Mike Trout with historic American League MVP

angels, shohei ohtani, al mvp

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher and DH Shohei Ohtani won the American League MVP. He did so in convincing fashion, becoming the first unanimous MVP since fellow Angel Mike Trout did it in 2014.

 

What Shohei Ohtani did in 2021 was unprecedented. Well, at least not since Babe Ruth.

Ohtani his 46 home runs, 3rd most in the American League. He also finished 2nd on OPS and slugging percentage, first in triples and fifth in stolen bases. Those numbers alone would garner MVP consideration. But he accomplished far more than that.

Ohtani as a starting pitcher went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA, compiling 156 strikeouts in only 130 innings.

Literally, we have not seen a baseball player dominate the sport both as a hitter and as a pitcher to this level since Babe Ruth in the early 20th century over 100 years ago. Prior to be traded to the New York Yankees, Babe Ruth was one of the league’s most dominant pitchers as well as hitters for the Boston Red Sox.

What Ohtani accomplished is recognized, even by the new baseball metrics.

When Shohei Ohtani came over from Japan in 2018, everyone knew about his ability to both pitch and hit. Not many actually thought he would accomplished what he did this year. Ohtani misses the better parts of two seasons in 2019 and 2020 with mounting injuries. That makes what he did this season that much more incredible.

Despite his individual success, the Angles still struggled to find team success. They finished the season eight games under .500, at 77-85. That was good enough for 4th place in the AL West.