When the news was announced that the Angels Shohei Ohtani was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year for 2018, some people were surprised that the Yankees Miguel Andujar wasn’t chosen.
If that was your mind set let me explain why Shohei Ohtani won the award and not Andujar. Hitting wise Andujar had the superior stat line. Andujar hit. 297 with 27 homers and 94 RBIs while Ohtani hit .285 with 22 homers and 61 runs batted in. Andujar beat Ohtani in every offensive category.
So where did Ohtani beat Andujar? The answer is two-fold.
First of all, Ohtani was not only a hitter, but a pitcher as well. Ohtani was 4-2 with 3.31 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP. Ohtani pitched 51.2 innings and struck out 63 batters. This alone should have been enough to push Ohtani past Andujar, but there is more to it than this.
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The most important thing is the impact Ohtani made not only on the Angels but throughout baseball. Ohtani put a buzz in the ball park every time he came up to bat and after he hit a few tape-measure home runs this was even more evident. When Ohtani was on the mound the ballpark was electric as well especially when his pitches reached triple-digits.
Unfortunately Ohtani’s pitching season was cut short or there would have been no one that even questioned Ohtani’s validity as the front-runner in the Rookie of the Year race. However, even with the lack of pitching the whole season Ohtani still crated a buzz throughout baseball by becoming the most viable two-way player since Babe Ruth in the 1920’s.
This is not to mention the media attention Ohtani brought to the Angels throughout the season. Ohtani was the Rookie of the Month twice during the season in April and September and also won AL Player of the Week honors twice during the season. All of this were reasons that Ohtani most likely won the award.
Ohtani received 25 of the 30 possible first place votes and he also received four second place votes. Andujar had the other five first place votes with 20 second place votes and four third place votes. Gleyber Torres finished a distant third to Ohtani and Andujar.
Next season Ohtani will only be able to hit, but he will play probably at least 100 games at DH. Hopefully Ohtani will not experience a sophomore slump in 2019. However for now Ohtani can bask in the glow of being the third Angel to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award after Mike Trout won it in 2012 and Tim Salmon won the Angels first Rookie of the Year Award in 1993.
Congratualtions Ohtani-San. You deserve it!!!