There are moments in baseball history when fans know for certain that they are witnessing something incredible, and if they had any doubt that Shohei Ohtani was that moment, this week crushed all remaining uncertainty as the two-way sensation added to his accolades with two Players Choice Awards — Major League Baseball Player of The Year and American League Outstanding Player.
Any Angels fan will tell you that everything Ohtani accomplished during his 2021 season not only earned him this recognition, but his hard work both on the mound and in the batter’s box paved the way for a historic moment in Angels history. Ohtani walked away from the season with 46 home runs, 26 stolen bases, and he led MLB with 8 triples. He also became the first AL player to hit over 45 home runs, steal at least 25 bases and score 100 runs.
Defensively, his power as a pitcher posted a 3.18 ERA over 23 starts on the mound.
Whether he was throwing fastballs over 100 mph or hitting pitches out of the park with a max exit velocity of 119 mph, Ohtani’s dedication to both of his positions gave fans a season of smart baseball and the chance to watch a player that left his heart on the field every time.
We've never witnessed a player or a season like Shohei Ohtani in 2021. pic.twitter.com/RDyijmOAGX— MLB (@MLB) October 26, 2021
The last Angels player to win both the AL Outstanding Player and the MLB Player of the Year award was Mike Trout in 2019.
Ohtani’s victory in the AL Outstanding Player category beat out Toronto Blue Jays power hitter, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who ended the season with 48 home runs and an impressive .311 batting average. He also secured the award over Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez who had 48 home runs alongside Guerrero and a batting average of .273.
Competition was also tough in the Player of the Year category as Ohtani won a hard-earned victory over both Guerrero and Philadelphia Phillies right fielder, Bryce Harper who hit 35 home runs, 42 doubles, 84 RBIs and finished the 2021 season with a .309 batting average.
Ohtani joins the company of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Max Scherzer (1.98 ERA), who walked away from the Players Choice Awards as this year’s National League Outstanding Pitcher. Also on the NL side, Harper was recognized as the NL Outstanding Player.
But while this achievement is big news, it’s not the first time Ohtani has been awarded this week. The young pitcher/designated hitter was also honored on Tuesday before the first game of the World Series with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award — an accolade that hasn’t been handed out since it was awarded to Derek Jeter in 2014.
If the last week was any indication, it looks like this awards season is shaping up to an eventful one for the young Angels star, Shohei Ohtani.