Angels’ Shohei Ohtani unanimously wins AL MVP; Phillies’ Bryce Harper takes NL MVP

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, shown June 23, 2019, beat out fellow finalists Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien for the award. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 18 (UPI) — Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was crowned the American League Most Valuable Player on Thursday, while Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper captured the National League MVP Award.

Coming off a largely unprecedented 2021 season, Ohtani was a unanimous selection for the AL award, receiving all 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He beat out fellow finalists Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien, both of the Toronto Blue Jays, for the honor.

The 27-year-old Ohtani totaled 46 home runs and made 23 starts for the Angels this past season, becoming the first player in baseball history to hit at least 30 homers in a year when he also made at least 10 pitching appearances.

Offensively, Ohtani recorded a .965 OPS — the second-highest mark in the AL — with eight triples and 26 stolen bases. He became just the sixth player in history to amass at least 45 home runs and 25 stolen bases in a single season, joining Barry Bonds, Chipper Jones, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Canseco and Larry Walker.

Unlike those other decorated players, Ohtani also took the mound for the Angels. He pitched 130 1/3 innings in 2021 and notched a 3.18 ERA with 156 strikeouts and 44 walks. Due to his prowess at the plate and on the mound, Ohtani’s 9.1 WAR rating surpassed everyone in the sport.

Harper, meanwhile, edged out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. to claim his second NL MVP Award.

The 29-year-old Harper (348 points) received 17 of the 30 first-place votes from the BBWAA. Soto had 274 total points to finish second, while Tatis came in third with 244 points.

San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner also received first-place votes.

Harper became the fourth player since 2000 to capture multiple MVPs before turning 30, joining Angels star Mike Trout (three), Albert Pujols (three) and Alex Rodriguez (two).

In 141 games for the Phillies, Harper had a .309 batting average with 35 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also led the NL in slugging percentage (.615) and stole 13 bases.



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