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Why Shohei Ohtani deserved the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year - Metro US

Why Shohei Ohtani deserved the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year

Shohei Ohtani. (Photo: Getty Images)

New York Yankees fans have a reason to be angry at those pesky baseball writers for not choosing third baseman Miguel Andujar as American League Rookie of the Year on Monday night. 

While reports surfaced that he was the favorite to win the award, it was Los Angeles Angels dual threat Shohei Ohtani who took home the hardware in rather convincing fashion. 

The results had countless Yankee fans accusing the writers of an anti-Yankees bias, saying Andujar was the clear winner. Sure, there was a pretty clear case as to why he deserved it. He tied an MLB rookie record with 47 doubles to support his .297 batting average with 27 home runs and 92 RBI. 

In reality, there really wasn’t an incorrect choice made by those who were between Andujar and Ohtani. 

The one knock to Ohtani’s season was the amount of time he spent on the field. Injuries, including a damaged UCL that required Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1, limited his rookie campaign to a total of 114 games. Ten of those games came as a starting pitcher and the other 104 were as a designated hitter. 

His ability to perform at a high level at the plate and on the mound made the 24-year-old’s first MLB season one we simply have not seen in just about a century. The Japanese product became the first player since Babe Ruth in 1919 to pitch 50 or more innings in a single season while hitting 15 home runs. 

In total, Ohtani pitched 51.2 innings with a 4-2 record, 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts. As a batter, he slashed .285/.361/.564 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI in 247 fewer at-bats than Andujar.

It makes Andujar’s numbers seem almost pedestrian. And let’s be honest, setting a record for doubles is not as appealing to the writers as pitching (like Ohtani’s) or overwhelming power (like Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in 2017).

Being able to pull off such a rare combination at the MLB level was always going to put Ohtani in the driver’s seat for AL Rookie of the Year voting. Ohtani’s ability to succeed in both aspects made him a lock. 

 

 

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