Shohei Ohtani on MVP Award: ‘I’m having a better season this year than I had last year
Reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani spoke out on the MVP race Saturday night and put forth the argument that he’s become an improved player this season.
“I don’t like to self-critique myself in anyway,” the Angels pitcher/designated hitter said. “One thing I could say is, overall, balance-wise, I’m having a better season this year than I had last year.”
In 2021, the Japanese star hit 46 home runs and slashed .257/.372/.592 while going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA on the mound en route to his first MVP award, which he won unanimously.
This season, he’s hit 34 home runs and has slashed .266/.356/.536 while maintaining a 13-8 record and a 2.43 ERA. The pitching has been clearly superior this season, as the ace is just 15 innings away from qualifying for the ERA title with three starts remaining. In 2021, he pitched just 130 1/3 innings.
While the raw offensive numbers may not line up as well with last year’s the consistency has been better this season. In August and September of 2021, his power numbers slipped to .220/.374/.418 as he hit eight home runs in that stretch. Since Aug. 1 of this season, he’s hitting .289/.359/.631 with 12 homers in over 50 fewer plate appearances.
On Saturday night, he pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out eight Mariners, while also adding an RBI double and then later scoring himself. While earning the victory on the mound, he also accounted for all of his own run support, as the Angels defeated Seattle 2-1.