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AL MVP finalist Shohei Ohtani will undoubtedly run away with the award

Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
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Shohei Ohtani was announced on Monday night as one of the three finalists for the AL MVP.

There’s no doubt that he’ll bring home the award for the LA Angels.

Ohtani will be competing with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien, two players that have nowhere close to the value that Ohtani has.

Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have no chance at taking the AL MVP from Shohei Ohtani.

Shohei Ohtani hit .257/.372/.592 (.965 OPS) with 46 HR, 100 RBI, and 103 R this season, despite having absolutely no lineup protection with major injuries to his key teammates. Nobody was hitting behind him, as Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton all had to undergo season-ending injuries. Trout played 36 games, Rendon played 58, and Upton played just 89.

It got so bad that teams started walking Ohtani even more than teams used to walk Barry Bonds. Even fans of teams playing the Angels booed their own teams for walking Ohtani.

Guerrero and Semien, on the other hand, had plenty of lineup protection, including each other of course.

Semien still couldn’t put up the offensive numbers Ohtani could. He had a slightly better batting average at .265, but had a mediocre on-base percentage of .334 and couldn’t even have a .900 OPS. He also hit less home runs than Ohtani.

As for Guerrero Jr., he used his lineup protection to his advantage, and actually had better numbers than Ohtani. He hit .311/.401/.601 (1.002 OPS) with 48 HR, 111 RBI, and 123 R. Put Ohtani in that Jays lineup, and put Guerrero Jr. in the Halos’ lineup and the stat lines would be reversed, but it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter because Ohtani has another aspect to his offensive game that neither have, and Guerrero doesn’t even come close to having: Elite baserunning. Ohtani had 26 stolen bases this year and was ranked as the fastest baserunner in the American League by his peers. Semien only had 15 stolen bases, and Guerrero’s so slow he only had four.

And baserunning is extended beyond just stealing bases. It’s about getting extra bags whenever possible, not just through stealing them off of pitchers and catchers. Ohtani led the MLB with eight triples.

Semien had just two, and Guerrero could only stretch one double to a triple all year.

Beyond this, Ohtani is an Ace on the mound, going 9-2 in 23 starts with a 3.18 ERA. He struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings and posted a 1.090 WHIP this season. Semien and Guerrero certainly never even tried to take the mound even once.

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Ohtani’s status as a two-way player who’s elite as both a hitter and a pitcher, along with being the fastest baserunner in the American League makes him an easy choice for MVP. It should be unanimous, but even if it’s not, it at least won’t be close.

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