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Shohei Ohtani, baseball’s 2-way star, becomes first 2-time unanimous MVP

by Madison Thomas
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Shohei Ohtani MVP

Shohei Ohtani, the extraordinary two-way baseball sensation, has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first player to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award unanimously for the second time. This achievement underscores his undeniable dominance in the sport, despite a recent injury that has left many questioning his future.

During the announcement of the American League MVP award on the Major League Baseball Network, Ohtani, with a dog resting in his lap, made a brief appearance but refrained from addressing the media as initially planned. Major League Baseball cited circumstances beyond his control for his unavailability, and it’s worth noting that he has not engaged with reporters since August 9, just before a pitching injury that necessitated surgery, ruling him out of mound action until 2025.

Before his injury, Ohtani, while playing for the Los Angeles Angels, was the subject of extensive speculation regarding the possibility of securing the first-ever $500 million contract in baseball history. Details surrounding his latest operation, which followed Tommy John surgery in October 2018, remain undisclosed by his agent, Nez Balelo.

In the MVP voting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Ohtani received all 30 first-place votes, accumulating a total of 420 points. This marks his second consecutive unanimous MVP win, having finished as the runner-up to the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in the previous year.

On the National League side, Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves clinched the MVP honor, resulting in a historic moment where both league MVP winners were chosen unanimously, a first in the history of these awards, which date back to 1931. Ohtani’s exceptional performance this season drew comparisons to legendary figures like Babe Ruth, who excelled both as a pitcher and hitter in a single season. Ruth’s feats in 1918 and 1919 showcased his exceptional versatility, though he gradually transitioned away from pitching in his later career.

Ohtani’s impressive statistics speak volumes about his prowess. Leading the AL with 44 home runs, a .304 batting average, 96 RBIs, eight triples, and 20 stolen bases, he demonstrated his offensive prowess before an oblique injury prematurely ended his season on September 3. On the pitching front, he posted a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts, tallying 167 strikeouts and 55 walks in 132 innings, until a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow halted his pitching duties on August 23.

Noteworthy is Ohtani’s remarkable consistency, maintaining an average exit velocity of 94.4 mph off his bat, ranking third among qualified batters, trailing only Judge and Acuña. His four-seam fastball averaged an impressive 96.8 mph, placing him 26th among qualified pitchers. His overall impact on the game is reflected in his league-leading 10.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference.

A southpaw batter and right-handed pitcher, Ohtani’s All-Star status is a testament to his exceptional abilities. Over six major league seasons, he has compiled a .274 batting average, 171 home runs, 437 RBIs, and 86 stolen bases. On the pitching side, he boasts a 38-19 record with a 3.01 ERA in 86 starts, accumulating 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings.

Ohtani’s journey in Major League Baseball began in 2018 when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award, leaving the Pacific League’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to sign with the Angels. In 2016, he was also honored as the Pacific League’s MVP.

In the MVP race, Corey Seager secured the second position with 24 second-place votes and 264 points, while Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers claimed the third spot with five second-place votes and 216 points. The voting took place before the postseason, where the Rangers clinched their first World Series title.

In closing, Ohtani’s back-to-back unanimous MVP victories firmly establish him as a transcendent talent in the world of baseball, leaving fans and analysts eager to witness his return to the field after his recovery from injury.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Shohei Ohtani MVP

Q: Who is Shohei Ohtani, and why is he in the spotlight?

A: Shohei Ohtani is a remarkable two-way baseball player known for his exceptional hitting and pitching abilities. He has garnered attention due to his unprecedented dominance in both aspects of the game, making him a unique and highly regarded figure in Major League Baseball.

Q: How significant is Ohtani’s achievement of winning the MVP unanimously twice?

A: Ohtani’s back-to-back unanimous MVP wins are of immense significance, as they establish him as a transcendent talent in baseball history. No player had achieved this feat before, highlighting his exceptional skills and impact on the sport.

Q: What are some of Ohtani’s notable achievements and statistics from the season?

A: In the season, Ohtani led the American League in home runs (44), maintained a batting average of .304, recorded 96 RBIs, hit eight triples, and stole 20 bases. On the pitching side, he had a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts, striking out 167 batters in 132 innings. His impressive exit velocity and fastball speed also contributed to his standout performance.

Q: How did Ohtani’s injury affect his season and future prospects?

A: Unfortunately, Ohtani’s season was cut short due to an oblique injury on September 3, followed by a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on August 23, requiring surgery. This will keep him off the mound until 2025, raising questions about his recovery and future performance.

Q: How does Ohtani’s performance compare to legendary players like Babe Ruth?

A: Ohtani’s performance draws comparisons to Babe Ruth, who excelled both as a pitcher and hitter in the same season. While Ruth achieved remarkable feats in the past, Ohtani’s versatility and impact on the game, particularly in the modern era, make his achievements equally impressive.

Q: What other awards and recognitions has Ohtani received in his career?

A: In addition to his MVP wins, Ohtani was named the AL Rookie of the Year in 2018 and previously earned the Pacific League’s MVP award in 2016. His career has been marked by numerous accolades, highlighting his consistent excellence in baseball.

Q: How did other players fare in the MVP race this year?

A: Corey Seager secured the second position in the MVP race with 24 second-place votes and 264 points, while Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers claimed the third spot with five second-place votes and 216 points. The voting occurred before the postseason, where the Rangers won their first World Series title.

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