Friday, January 28 2022
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, reacts after striking out Oakland Athletics' Matt Chapman.
Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani reacts after striking out Oakland’s Matt Chapman during a game Sept. 19. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani has already racked up several pieces of hardware this offseason.

On Monday, he was officially announced as a contender for the biggest award yet.

The Angels‘ two-way star was revealed as one of three finalists for the American League most-valuable-player award, a long-expected development following his historic 2021 season. Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and second basemen Marcus Semien were the other finalists for the award, the winner of which will be announced Nov. 18 on MLB Network.

Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer, who was acquired in a July 30 trade with the Washington Nationals, was named a finalist for the National League 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 1.98 ERA in 11 starts after the Dodgers acquired him. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who made his fourth All-Star game start, struck out 246, walked 36 and gave up only 119 hits in 179 1/3 innings, good for a major league-leading 0.864 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

Ohtani is considered the favorite after he batted .257 with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs, made 23 starts on the mound with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts, and led the majors in wins above replacement according to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

Over the last month, he has already been honored as the MLB Players Choice Outstanding Player, Baseball America’s player of the year and the 16th all-time recipient of the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, receiving the latter trophy at a special ceremony before Game 1 of the World Series. He is also a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award among AL designated hitters.

If Ohtani can add MVP to that mix, it will be the sixth time in Angels franchise history a player has won the award, joining Don Baylor in 1979, Vladimir Guerrero Sr. in 2014, and Mike Trout in 2014, 2016 and 2019.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian said at MLB’s GM meetings Monday that Ohtani has started working out as part of his offseason training program.

“He’s already thinking about next year and the team,” Minasian said.

Staff writer Jorge Castillo contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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