Sports: Is Shohei Ohtani’s Record-Breaking Year Enough to Bring the MVP Trophy Back to Anaheim?
by Aeden Alexander, Sports Editor
The Angels’ two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani of Japan, leads the Most Valuable Player (MVP) race following a historic year on the mound and in the batter’s box, establishing himself as a modern-day Babe Ruth.
With the baseball season coming to an end, baseball fans look to the MVP race, which is shaping to be one for the ages. The Angels’ Ohtani, who has made history numerous times this year as both a pitcher and a hitter, is the frontrunner in a tight race against prodigy son Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Angels, coming off yet another disappointing year filled with injuries and much more, had light in the performance of Ohtani, as Shohei became “Shotime.” There’s no doubt that Ohtani is doing something that has never been seen before, but does it do enough to overtake Guerrero’s extremely impressive season?
The simple answer is yes, as the name of the award is Most Valuable Player, and even with Toronto being a team that is still fighting for a playoff spot, Shohei Ohtani is much more important to his team.
Even with Guerrero’s offensive stats being higher than Ohtani’s, he doesn’t provide enough as a hitter only to help his team win as many games. Shohei is coming off a 9-2 season on the bump, with many of his 23 starts being quality starts that ended in no decisions.
Ohtani also had an astonishing 3.18 earned run average (ERA) and went undefeated in his starts at home. He became almost unhittable towards the end of the season, fixing his command issue and making batters swing and miss more frequently.
He was no doubt dominant on the mound, but was also arguably just as dominant with the bat. Many people’s arguments for Guerrero to win MVP is that he will win the offensive triple crown, which consists of leading in home runs, batting average, and runs batted in, which has only happened a handful of times in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.
Although this may be a valid point, Ohtani is not far behind. As a matter of fact, he is right behind Guerrero. They have battled all season with each other and even with Ohtani slightly falling behind offensively, it is not enough to make anybody besides Shohei the MVP.
Even with a lackluster August and early September at the plate, Ohtani currently holds a .258 batting average and a .371 on base percentage, while hitting 45 home runs and batting in 98 runners.
Many people argue that due to the Blue Jays’ success, and another subpar year for the Angels, as they will miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be the MVP. This is not a fair point however, because unlike other team sports, such as basketball, it is much harder for one player to “carry” a team in baseball.
This year, the Blue Jays have had significantly better pitching overall and have had far less injuries, with Angels’ star players Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon missing most of the year. Thus, there is nothing Ohtani can do or could have done that would have helped the team more than he already has. Baseball is a team sport, making team success a largely invalid point regarding the MVP award.
Regardless, with everything that Shohei Ohtani has accomplished this year, the future is bright in Anaheim. There is no doubt that both Ohtani and Guerrero. are superstars and are important for the future of baseball, but, when this season does come to an end, it would not be a surprise to see Shohei Ohtani win a unanimous MVP.