SHOHEI OHTANI NAMED 2021 AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
First unanimous A.L. MVP since Mike Trout in 2014
ANAHEIM – Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani today was named the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player in an announcement made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). It marks the first career A.L. MVP award for Ohtani, who previously won the 2016 Most Valuable Player Award in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.
Ohtani garnered all 30 first place votes for a total of 420 points in the balloting process, 151 points ahead of second place finisher Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays (269 points). Ohtani becomes just the 19th unanimous winner of a BBWAA MVP Award (11th in A.L. history) and the first since Bryce Harper won N.L. MVP honors in 2015. He becomes the second Japanese-born player to receive MVP honors in the Major Leagues, joining Ichiro Suzuki (2001). Additionally, he is just the third starting pitcher to win A.L. MVP in the last 50 years, following Roger Clemens (1986) and Justin Verlander (2011).
The 27-year-old captures the Angels sixth MVP award in franchise history, following Don Baylor (1979), Vladimir Guerrero (2004) and Mike Trout (2014, 2016 & 2019). The Angels are the first team to win four MVP awards in an eight-year span since San Francisco won five straight with Jeff Kent (2000) and Barry Bonds (2001-04) and the first A.L. team since the Texas Rangers with Juan González (1996, 1998), Iván Rodríguez (1999) and Alex Rodriguez (2003).
As a hitter, Ohtani ranked in the Top 10 in the American League in triples (8; 1st), extra-base hits (80; 2nd), slugging (.592; 2nd), OPS (.965; 2nd), home runs (46; 3rd), walks (96; 3rd), total bases (318; T4th), stolen bases (26; 5th), OBP (.372; 5th) and runs scored (103; 8th). On the mound, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA (130.1 IP – 46 ER) and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts, while holding opponents to a .207 average (98/473). He led the Majors with a 9.1 bWAR and became the first player in MLB history to record 10+ HR as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts as a pitcher in the same season.
This summer, Ohtani became the first MLB player to ever be selected to the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player and started the game as both the A.L. starting pitcher and designated hitter. Additionally, he was named the American League Player of the Month for both June and July, becoming the first player to win consecutive A.L. Player of the Month Awards since Josh Hamilton (April/May 2012).
THE HITTER - Ranked in Top 10 in the American League in triples (8; 1st), extra-base hits (80; 2 nd), slugging (.592; 2nd), OPS (.965; 2nd), home runs (46; 3rd), walks (96; 3rd), total bases (318; T4 th), stolen bases (26; 5 th), OBP (.372; 5 th) and runs scored (103; 8th). One of two players in American League history with 45+ HR and 25+ SB in a season, joining Jose Canseco (1998). One of six players in American League history with 45+ HR and 8+ triples in a season, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx and Jim Rice. Led the Majors with 25 home runs with a 110+ MPH exit velocity. Established new single-season home run record for a Japanese-born player (previously 31 by Hideki Matsui in 2004)
THE PITCHER - Opponents batted .087 (11/127) against his splitter; lowest batting average for any pitch in the Majors (min. 110 PA) Allowed two-or-fewer runs in 17 of 23 starts…Took seven no-decisions in starts with 5+ IP and two-or-fewer runs allowed. Led American League with a .818 winning percentage, ranked third with a .207 opponent batting average, was fifth with 10.77 strikeouts per nine innings and ranked 10th with a 28.9% swing and miss rate (min. 125 IP). Was one of four A.L. starting pitchers to reach 100+ MPH with at least 11 pitches this season. Went 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA (78.1 IP – 17 ER) and 93 strikeouts in 13 home starts
TWO-WAY - Made 14 pitching starts while also holding at least a share of the Major League home run lead o First pitcher to make multiple pitching starts in a season while leading Majors in home runs since Babe Ruth (1919). First player in MLB history to record 10+ HR as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts as a pitcher in the same season. First player in MLB history with 20+ stolen bases and 10+ pitching appearances in the same season. Batted for himself in 20 of 23 pitching starts; first pitcher ever to hit for himself 3+ times in games where a DH is available
ALL-STAR - First MLB player to ever be selected to the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player. Started the All-Star Game as both the A.L. starting pitcher and starting DH o Earned the win for the A.L. after working a perfect 1st inning. Competed in the Home Run Derby and totaled 28 home runs, including six 500+ ft. HR (most in the Statcast era)
AWARDS - American League Most Valuable Player. Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award. Silver Slugger Award. Players Choice Awards: Player of the Year & A.L. Outstanding Player. Sporting News MLB Player of the Year, Baseball America MLB Player of the Year & Baseball Digest MLB Player of the Year. Two-time American League Player of the Month – June & July. Two-time American League Player of the Week – June 14 – June 20 & June 28 - July 4. ESPY Award – Best MLB Player. TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World. Angels Most Valuable Player & Nick Adenhart Award
Statements from Mike Trout, Joe Maddon and Perry Minasian:
Angels OF Mike Trout – “Shohei’s season was nothing short of electric. At times, I felt like I was back in Little League. To watch a player throw eight innings, hit a home run, steal a base and then go play right field was incredible. What impresses me the most about him though, is the way he carries himself both on and off the field. With so much on his plate daily, he still manages to do it with a smile. Congratulations Shohei!”
Angels Manager Joe Maddon – “Shohei came to the States to play among the best on both sides of the ball and he accomplished that mission on the highest level. Knowing him, this award is going to serve as motivation to exceed his previous accomplishments. I cannot wait to watch how his game helps push us to our goal of playing in the last game of the season and winning it. Congratulations to Shohei and his entire family on this special honor.”
Angels General Manager Perry Minasian – “Shohei had an outstanding season and his talent speaks for itself. It was a privilege watching him on the field on a daily basis, as well as seeing his commitment to improving his craft. He is a great teammate, works incredibly hard on every aspect of the game and this award is very well deserved.”