Whether Shohei Ohtani wins Major League Baseball’s American League Rookie of the Year Award remains to be seen but Baseball Digest has made its choice and Shohei is their man. Shohei is the 6th Angel to win the award. Others include Mark Clear (1979), Bryan Harvey (1988), Tim Salmon (1993), Garret Anderson (1995), and of course Mike Trout (2012).
Baseball Digest realized how valuable Ohtani was based on the fact that he is the first player since Babe Ruth to pitch 50 innings and hit 15 home runs in one season. That’s truly an amazing feat and he’s only going to get better as his career continues.
However, when it comes to the Major League Baseball American League Rookie of the Year Award, the debate is a contested one. Should Ohtani win that as well or does the award go to Miguel Andujar?
Arguments for Miguel Andujar:
- Andujar led American League rookies in five categories: runs (83), hits (170), doubles (47), home runs (27), and RBIs (92). He was also second in batting average at .297. This is very compelling evidence that could give Andujar the edge.
- He helped the Yankees make it to the ALCS. If your team gets into the playoffs, that does give you a bit of a boost to win the MVP or ROY award. Winning cures everything. Then again, the Yankees had a pretty stacked lineup with Stanton, Sanchez, Gregorius, sophomore sensation Aaron Judge and Andujar’s rookie-of-the year counterpart and contender, Gleyber Torres.
- The Angels were a disappointing 80-82 despite having arguably the best player in baseball (Trout) in the same lineup as Ohtani.
Arguments for Shohei Ohtani:
- Shohei is the first two-way player since 1919. He went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. In 51 innings, he struck out 63 and walked 22. If he had won 10 games, he would easily be a lock to win the AL ROY award. Nevertheless that’s quite a feat.
- Offensively, Ohtani had the highest OPS among all rookies (.925) and he had 22 home runs and 61 RBIs in limited at bats (326) including 10 stolen bases. Andujar had 27 home runs in 573 at bats and only 2 stolen bases.
- Ohtani had a higher WAR (3.9) to Andujar’s 2.2. Even Torres had a higher WAR than Andujar at 2.9. Why is that? Andujar’s defense wasn’t that great. He had a fielding percentage of .948, had 15 errors, and was -29 when it comes to defensive runs saved.
So you make the call. Based on pure offensive numbers, Andujar has the edge. If Ohtani had as many at bats as Andujar, then Ohtani might have possibly had better numbers than Andujar but we can’t play the “what if” game. However, if we take into account that Ohtani was a starting pitcher and contributed 4 wins in that cause while Andujar was a third baseman and hurt his team defensively, then the edge would seemingly go to Ohtani.
As an Angels fan, I would love Ohtani to win, but I wouldn’t be too upset if Andujar wins the award despite him being a part of the Evil Empire.
Featured Image: Japan Times