Shohei Ohtani becomes 3rd Angel to win AL Rookie of the Year

BY Fernando Stepensky • November 12, 2018

He truly is the American League's Greatest (rookie) Sho-man.

Shohei Ohtani's one of a kind season was enough to edge out Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres from the New York Yankees to win the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year award, Major League Baseball announced Monday. Ohtani is only the third Los Angeles Angels player to win the award, joining Mike Trout and Tim Salmon.

Ohtani received 25 of 30 first place votes and 137 total votes, compared to second-place Andujar who received 89 total votes. His elite play on both the mound and in the batter's box has drawn plenty of comparisons to Babe Ruth.

ShoTime had already been named AL Rookie of the Year by Baseball Digest, as he went 4-2 as a pitcher in the 10 games he started, ending with a 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 63 strikeouts over 51 innings. Although his season was cut short due to injury, his batting numbers were still comparable to that of his Rookie of the Year finalist counterparts in far fewer at-bats.

He led all A.L. rookies (min. 300 PA) in OPS (.925), on-base percentage (.361), and slugging percentage (.564) and posted the best rates of at-bats per home run (14.82) and RBI (5.34). Ohtani's dangerous splitter left batters dumbfounded as they hit .036 (2/55) against it.

Among his other meaningful accomplishments this season, Ohtani became the first player in Major League history with 20+ home runs and 50 pitching strikeouts in the same season. He joined Ruth as the only players to hit 15 homers while pitching at least 50 innings in a season. He is also the second-fastest Angels rookie to reach 20 home runs, doing so in 91 non-pitching games this season.

Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery after the season to repair his damaged UCL, taking him out of consideration to pitch in 2019. However, the 24-year-old is expected to be able to rejoin the team as a hitter early in the season. During the award show announcement on MLB Network, Ohtani said his recovery process has been going well and may even be a bit ahead of schedule.

Additionally, Ohtani was the only player in the Majors to have multiple games of two home runs and a stolen base. Also, on Sept. 5 at Texas, he became the second rookie in A.L. history to record four hits, four runs, two home runs and a stolen base in a single game.

Ohtani now joins Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Sasaki as only the third Japanese player to win AL Rookie of the Year.

share story