NEW YORK – Shohei Ohtani was named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, MLB announced Monday.
At 23 years and 9 months old, the Los Angeles Angels’ rising star became the youngest Japanese player to receive the award in the majors. It is the first time for a pitcher-hitter to be named a weekly MVP since the award was introduced in 1975.
“I’m honored to have been chosen as MLB’s American League Player of the Week,” Ohtani said in a statement. “Thank you to the Angels staff and my teammates for helping me achieve this award.”
Ohtani belted a home run for the third consecutive game on Friday. He also earned two victories on the mound, including an impressive win on Sunday when he took a perfect game into the seventh inning. He allowed one hit and recorded 12 strikeouts in seven innings.
Hideo Nomo was the first Japanese player to receive the award in June 1995, the year he debuted in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Before Ohtani, Seattle Mariners veteran Ichiro Suzuki had been the most recent Japanese player to earn the title in August 2016 during his stint with the Miami Marlins.