Shohei Okhtani has already put together some hardware this offseason.
On Monday, he was officially announced as a contender for the largest award so far.
The two-sided Angels star has become one of three finalists for the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award, a highly anticipated event following its historic 2021 season. Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and second baseman Marcus Semien are other finalists for the award, which will be announced on November 18 via MLB Network.
Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer, who was acquired on July 30 through a deal with Washington Nationals, was named a National League finalist for the Cy Young Award. Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts for the Nationals and Dodgers in 2021, including a 7-0 record and a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts after the Dodgers acquired him. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who started his fourth All-Star game, struck out 246 points, finished 36 and gave up just 119 hits in 179 1/3 innings, which is good for the top league’s 0.864 WHIP (walks plus hits for broken innings).
Ohtani is considered the favorite after beating .257 with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs, making 23 starts on the mound with 3.18 ERAs and 156 strikeouts, and leading big player victories over substitutions according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.
Over the past month, he has already been named MLB Players Choice Outstanding Player of the Year, America’s Baseball Player of the Year and 16th-ever Commissioner of Historic Achievement Award winner, with his final trophy. at a special ceremony before the first game of the World Series… He is also a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award for AL-nominated strikers.
If Otani can add an MVP to that mix, it will be the sixth time in Angels franchise history that a player has won an award, joining Don Baylor in 1979, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. in 2014, and Mike Trout in 2014, 2016 and 2019.
Angels general manager Perry Minasyan said in his meetings with MLB grandmaster on Monday that Otani began training as part of his off-season training program.
“He is already thinking about the next year and the team,” Minasyan said.
Staff writer Jorge Castillo contributed to this report.