Everyone in the baseball world is watching Shohei Ohtani this offseason, on Thursday they watched him win his second MVP award.
The two-way Phenom beat out fellow finalists Corey Seager and Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers for the AL’s top award. He won despite missing most of the last month of the 2023 campaign. Its the second time in three years that Ohtani has won the award, after finishing second in 2022.
The voting was unanimous as all 30 BBWAA voters voted for Shohei Ohtani to win his second MVP. The first time in history, per per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
All things considered, 2023 was the best season of Ohtani’s career. As a hitter, he led the AL in home runs (44), on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.654) and total bases (325).
As a pitcher, he held a 3.14 ERA, an 11.4 K/9 and a .183 batting average against that led the AL among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched.
Ohtani finished the season with a 10.0 WAR, as calculated by Baseball Reference. It could have been higher. He tore his UCL in August, which immediately ended his season on the mound. He continued to hit for another month, but in September he stopped to look into his medical options. He underwent surgery later that month.
Over the course of the time that he did play, he was too overwhelmingly dominant that there was no realistic chance that any other player could mount a late-season MVP campaign. The UCL tear didn’t prevent the MVP, but it prevented what could have been one of the best individual seasons in MLB history. Something we haven’t seen since the early days of Babe Ruth.
This is good news for whatever team Ohtani signs with. They will be getting a two-time MVP, but the injury still looms. Will Shohei Ohtani be the same player following it? The UCL surgery will likely keep him away from the mound in 2024 but he can still hit. There’s not a team that couldn’t use his services. There are the obvious favorites: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. However, the competition for Ohtani is wide open.
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