Award favorite Ohtani named AL MVP finalist

November 9th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- It’s no surprise considering his otherworldly 2021 season, but Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was named one of three finalists for the American League MVP Award, as announced Monday on MLB Network.

Ohtani, who is the front-runner to win the award voted on by the BBWAA, was joined by Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien as finalists. The winner will be announced on MLB Network on Nov. 18.

Ohtani is coming off a historic season that saw him become the game's first two-way player since Babe Ruth roughly 100 years ago. He hit .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 100 RBIs, 103 runs and 26 stolen bases in 155 games. He became the first player in AL or NL history with at least 45 homers, 25 stolen bases and five triples in a season.

And on the mound, he made 23 starts and went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings. Ohtani was especially hard to hit at Angel Stadium, where he went 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings in 13 starts. He also pitched better down the stretch, posting a 2.84 ERA in 10 starts after the All-Star break before being scratched from his final outing of the season with the Angels out of the race.

He finished with the second-most homers in a season in Angels history, only one behind Troy Glaus’ 47 blasts in 2000. And Ohtani was third in the Majors behind Guerrero and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, who both hit 48. He also finished the year with an AL-leading 20 intentional walks, which is the most for an AL player since Mike Trout’s 25 in 2018.

Ohtani is looking to join his teammate as an AL MVP, as Trout won the award in 2014, '16 and '19. The only other Angels players to win an MVP Award are Vladimir Guerrero (2004) and Don Baylor (1979).

Angels manager Joe Maddon said late in the season that he believed Ohtani deserves to be the MVP because of the value he brings as both a hitter and a pitcher.

“Ohtani is the MVP,” Maddon said. “It’s just his entire body of work. Everything is there regarding what he’s done as a position player, but then you have this other thing. This additive [of pitching] to include, that nobody even comes close to. It’s just unparalleled. It’s one of the best years, maybe the best year in the history of the game, by a baseball player. If that’s not recognized independent of championships, then I don’t know when it would be.”