LOS ANGELES - Two-way star and baseball’s unofficial "unicorn" Shohei Ohtani was named unanimous American League MVP for the second time in three seasons.
But is anyone in the baseball world surprised?
Before being shut down at the end of August due to an elbow injury, Ohtani put together a season to remember for the Los Angeles Angels in 2023 by slugging 44 home runs and batting .304 from the plate and putting together a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and striking out 167 batters as a pitcher.
Along the way in his historic 2023 calendar year, he helped Japan capture the gold medal in the World Baseball Classic – and was named MVP of the tournament, was named 2023 AL All-Star as a DH and pitcher and captured the Silver Slugger award as a DH.
Thursday’s announcement now makes him a 2-time AL MVP, with his first being from the 2021 regular season. Ohtani, Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Don Baylor are the only Angels to ever win the AL MVP.
Ohtani’s dream individual season marked a major contrast to the Angels’ nightmare campaign as the Halos finished the season 73-89 in 2023. Days after it was revealed Ohtani would be shut down for the rest of the season due to the elbow injury, the team’s front office essentially "rage quit," placing former All-Star Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and three others on waivers. Right as Ohtani was done for the year, his teammate Mike Trout was once again landed on the injured list – making Trout unavailable for the rest of the dismal regular season.