LA Angels’ Shohei Ohtani ‘not happy’ to finish runner-up in AL MVP award voting behind Aaron Judge – despite Yankees slugger’s American League record 62 runs
The American League (AL) MVP Award for New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge did not sit well with Los Angeles Angels star pitcher Shohei Ohtani.
The 28-year-old Japanese came second in the voting for Judge and felt as though he deserved the award more.
‘I know he’s determined to have a better year than last year,’ Angels manager Phil Nevins told MLB Network Radio. ‘He wasn’t happy about not winning the MVP I can tell you that. But he wants to win first.’
Winning should be the top priority for both player and team after finishing last season with a 73-89 record. The Angels failed to reach the postseason for the eighth consecutive season – MLB’s worst drought ever.
They have only made the playoffs a total of 10 times in their 62 seasons since the club was founded in 1961.
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels was not happy about finishing second in the AL MVP Award
Aaron Judge, of the Yankees, won the award after setting the record for most HRs in a season
However, the Angels’ playoff woes were not the fault of Ohtani who finished fourth in the AL in home runs (34), seventh in RBIs (95) and sixth in OPS+ (145).
The two-way star, currently in Japan to play in the World Baseball Classic for his country, also went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts.
Furthermore, he leads the AL in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9) and ranks third in total strikeouts (219).
Meanwhile, the Yankees reached the postseason after winning 99 games and reaching the ALCS before being blown out by the Houston Astros, 4-0, at home.
Judge hit 62 home runs throughout the regular season to lead New York into the playoffs and break Roger Maris’ record for most home runs hit in a season, which was 61.
The 30-year-old hit 16 more homers than any other major league player, the most since Jimmie Foxx hit 58 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932 and Babe Ruth had 41 for the Yankees.
Judge also led the majors in runs (133), OBT+ (.425), slugging percentage (.686), OPS (1.111), extra-base hits (90) and total bases (391).
He tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and finished second in the AL with a .311 batting average, just a few points short of the Triple Crown.
Ohtani is currently in Japan playing for his country in the World Baseball Classic tournament
Angels manager Phil Nevin has added three new players to the team to compete next year
But with the Angels adding pitcher Tyler Anderson, third baseman Gio Urshela and outfielder Hunter Renfroe in the offseason, Ohtani has improvement to look forward to.
‘He was excited about the pieces we added,’ says Nevin. ‘and he’s really excited to get started on what’s ahead of us.’
In January, Ohtani agreed to a $30million salary for the 2023-24 season, the largest salary ever given to an arbitration-eligible player.