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Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero, AL MVP

Ruthian Shohei Ohtani season worthy of MVP

  • Manuel Gómez - East Coast Contributor & Podcast Director Manuel Gómez, East Coast Contributor & Podcast Director
  • November 17, 2021

Shohei Ohtani's historic season gives him the edge in MVP race.

Among some former ballplayers, the decision was evident long before the 2021 MLB season even ended. Shohei Ohtani was getting the American League MVP award, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be given little to no consideration.

“In MLB there have been many injustices,” former slugger Manny Ramírez said in an Instagram Live last month. “Mike Trout earned several MVP awards without deserving it. … With Vladdy Jr. they will do the same. They will give the MVP to Ohtani.”

Ramírez himself has been the victim of MVP-robbery. Just look at the 1999 AL MVP race, when Iván Rodríguez won the award. This was the year ManRam drove 165 runs in, the most since Jimmie Foxx produced 175 RBIs in 1938.

It isn’t just Ramírez calling foul either. Former outfielder Carlos Gómez also intimated on multiple occasions that Vladdy was being overlooked.

“Attention, to those talking slime,” Gómez said in an Instagram post. “@Vladdy27 #MVP Talk to me about the numbers, not about the slime.”

The problem with these grievances is two-fold. Not only are the complaints premature, but they are also extremely irrelevant in the race for the prestigious award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Shohei Ohtani’s Historic Season

It’s true that Guerrrero made a serious case for the AL MVP award this season. The 22-year-old Dominicano hit .311 with 48 homers and 111 RBIs. Not since Albert Pujols has a batter hit a combination of 45 or more home runs, a .310 batting average or better, and 110 or more runs batted in.

It was truly a memorable season. It was one that perhaps 99.9% of the time garners the most coveted individual award.

Unfortunately, for Vladdy and those vouching for him, Shohei Ohtani’s season wasn’t just memorable, it was truly historic. Not since Babe Ruth and Martín Dihigo has the world of baseball seen a player be elite as a hitter and a pitcher.

As a hitter, Ohtani hit .257 with a .965 on-base + slugging percentage. He hit 46 home runs with 100 runs batted in while also placing second in MLB with 80 extra base hits.

AVG .257 .311
OBP .372 .401
SLG .592 .601
HR 46 48
RBI 100 111
XBH 80 78

As a pitcher, he started 23 games and tossed 130.1 innings. He posted a career-high 3.18 earned run average, 1.09 WHIP, and struck out 156 batters.

All of this amounts to a 9.1 Baseball-Reference WAR, which is 1.4 points greater than the next guy, Zack Wheeler. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. posted a 6.8 bWAR, significantly lower than Ohtani’s.

So, would it be an injusticia if Ohtani won the award over Guerrero? No.

The injustice is that they likely won’t share the award. They both deserve it. They both earned it. But, if I had a vote, I would give it to Shohei Ohtani.

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