Los Angeles – Shohei Ohtani’s extraordinary season as both a dominant pitcher and elite offensive performer was recognized Thursday with two Players Choice Awards, including the top prize, as voted on by the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The players’ union selected the Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar as Player of the Year, given to the player who “exhibits the best on-field performance” in either league, as well as the American League’s Outstanding Player.
The prizes are the latest awards in Ohtani’s growing collection. The 27-year-old received the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for the two-way feats which made him the first player named to an All-Star Game as both a pitcher and an offensive player.
He is also the favorite to be named AL MVP early next month in the awards voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I’m so happy,” Ohtani said. “Of course the other awards are nice, but being chosen by my fellow players, who are actually out there battling on the field, makes this special.
“I will be very happy if I can have another season competing at such a high level from next year.”
For the first time in four seasons in North America, Ohtani was able to make regular starts on the mound throughout the year while still serving as the Angels’ regular designated hitter on days when he did not pitch.
As a pitcher, the right-hander went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts. As a hitter, Ohtani belted 46 home runs, the third-most in the majors, had 100 RBIs and 103 runs scored.
He became the only player in MLB history with at least 45 home runs, eight triples, 25 doubles and 25 stolen bases in one season.
Among the other Players Choice winners, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray was named the AL’s Outstanding Pitcher, while Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Scherzer earned Outstanding Player and Outstanding Pitcher for the National League, respectively.
The other Player of the Year nominees were Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who tied for the AL home run lead with 48, and Harper, the only major leaguer with 40-plus doubles, 35-plus homers and 100-plus walks.
The three finalists for AL MVP are due to be named on Nov. 8, with the winner to be announced on Nov. 18. Ichiro Suzuki is the only Japanese player to win the award, in 2001, when he was named the AL’s MVP and Rookie of the Year.
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