Shohei Ohtani wins Baseball Digest Rookie of the Year Award
By David Rice
In what is possibly a preview of what may happen in the AL Rookie of the Year voting done by the Baseball Writers Asscoiation, the Angels Shohei Ohtani was chosen as the Baseball Digest Rookie of the Year.
Shohei Ohtani had a stellar rookie year for the Angels and did something that has not been the 1920’s by Babe Ruth: be a successful two-way player, both hitting and pitching in the same season. Ohtani hit .285 for the season with a .366 OBP and a .564 slugging percentage. The Japanese phenom clubbed 22 homers and drove in 61 runs with 10 stolen bases.
Pitching wise Ohtani was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA striking out 63 batters in 51.2 innings of work and posting a 1.16 WHIP. Ohtani twice struck out more than 10 batters in his 10 starts pitching seven innings against Oakland early in the season striking out 12 batters and only giving up only one hit. A month later against Minnesota Ohtani was again dominant striking out 11 batters in 6.1 innings while giving up only one run and three hits.
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On the hitting side Ohtani hit two homers in a game three times and hit multiple homers of more than 430 feet during the season. He also showed great speed with 21 doubles and two triples. Ohtani only had 326 plate appearances which is just about half of what most every day players have in a full season. If you equate Ohtani’s numbers to a player playing the full season (approximately 600 at-bats) he would have had 40 homers with 108 RBI’s with 18 stolen bases. Pretty impressive for a rookie for sure.
Next year Ohtani may get a shot to play more since he wont be pitching due to having Tommy John surgery in the off-season. In the Baseball Digest voting Ohtani got six of the seven first place votes outdistancing runner-up Miguel Andujar of the Yankees. Andujar and Ohtani are considered the favorites for the Baseball Writers Rookie of the Year Award.
Ohtani during the season won AL Rookie of the Month In both April and September. He also won AL Player of the Week honors once in both April and September as well. Outfielder Ronald Acura Jr. of the Atlanta Braves won the Baseball Digest NL Rookie of the Year. He is is considered the front runner for th Baseball Writers Association NL Rookie of the Year Award. Both the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards will be announced next week.
Let’s see how it plays out.