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Shohei Ohtani named MLB player of the year by fellow players

Angels star Shohei Ohtani hits against the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 2.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani hits against the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 2. Ohtani was voted the Major League Baseball Player of the Year and the American League Outstanding Player for 2021 by his peers.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Shohei Ohtani added to his postseason trophy haul Thursday when the Angels two-way star won Players Choice Awards — as voted by his peers — for Major League Baseball Player of the Year and American League Outstanding Player for 2021.

Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer, who was acquired in a July 30 trade from the Washington Nationals, was named National League Outstanding pitcher.

Ohtani was honored before Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for his unprecedented two-way performance this season, when he hit 46 home runs and drove in 100 runs as a batter and went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts as a pitcher.

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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani was honored with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for his unprecedented two-way performance this season.

The left-handed-hitting slugger hit .257 with a .965 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 26 doubles, eight triples, 103 runs and 26 stolen bases. The right-hander combined a triple-digit fastball with a nasty split-fingered pitch to strike out 156 and walk 44 in 130 1/3 innings.

Ohtani edged out Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who hit .311 with a 1.002 OPS, a major league-tying 48 homers and 111 RBIs, and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, who hit .309 with a 1.044 OPS, 35 homers, 42 doubles and 84 RBIs, for the outstanding player award.

Ohtani, who became the first player to be selected to — and start — the All-Star game as a pitcher and hitter, beat out Guerrero and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who hit .273 with an .859 OPS, 48 homers and 121 RBIs, for the AL outstanding player award.

Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, left, and Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer.
Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, left, and Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer each received honors from their peers on Thursday.
(Michael Wyke / Associated Press; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Ohtani, 27, was the first AL player to hit 45 homers or more, steal at least 25 bases and score at least 100 runs. Though his performance, arguably the best two-way season in baseball history, wasn’t enough to push the injury-ravaged Angels into the playoffs, it made Ohtani the clear-cut favorite for AL most valuable player.

Scherzer, who won Players Choice AL outstanding pitcher honors in 2013 and the NL award in 2017, went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts for the Nationals and Dodgers in 2021, including a 7-0 record and 1.98 ERA in 11 starts after the Dodgers acquired him.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president for baseball operations, said the team is waiting to see what the league does with Trevor Bauer before commenting on pitcher.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner, who made his fourth All-Star game start, struck out 246, walked 36 and gave up only 119 hits in 179 1/3 innings, good for a major league-leading 0.864 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

In a Sept. 14 game against the San Diego Padres, Scherzer became the 19th player in major league history to pass the 3,000-strikeout mark with a fifth-inning whiff of Eric Hosmer. He also threw an immaculate inning — nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts — and had a perfect game broken up in the eighth inning that day.


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