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Photo by Josh Hemsley

Last year, pitcher, outfielder, and designated hitter for the LA Angels, Shohei Ohtani, nabbed the American League’s MVP award. The unanimous decision came after a hugely successful year at the plate with 46 home runs and 156 strikeouts. Ohtani became the second Japanese player to nab the award given to Ichiro Suzuki back in 2001.

But Ohtani might not be done yet. At the moment, he’s listed behind Aaron Judge in American League MVP odds for the 2022 season from a variety of sportsbooks. Could Ohtani become the first Japanese player to take home multiple MVP awards? At the moment, Barry Bonds holds the record with seven total MVP nods, while Albert Pujols and Mike Trout trail him with three.

Let’s take a closer look at Ohtani’s chances of setting a record for former NPB stars.

A New Precedent

What makes Ohtani such a rewarding player to follow is his versatility. Talented and consistent pitchers are tough to come by, as are powerhouse hitters—but Ohtani stepped up to the mound and plate equally back in 2021. The idea that Showtime can’t repeat is based on the idea that only legends can roll over an MVP nod into consecutive wins.

But, as mentioned above, Ohtani hasn’t shown signs of slipping up this season. In fact, ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan recently broke down his stats as a hitter and pitcher, both of which clearly indicate that he’s the American League’s most dangerous player.

Currently, Ohtani pitches with an ERA of 147 and bats with an OPS of 141. For those who aren’t sabermetrics analysts, Ohtani’s pitching stats make put him first in the league, while his batting performance makes him the 15th-most productive player in the league. In other words, by the numbers, no one beats Ohtani.

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Photo by Kaleb Tapp

Mike Trout & Aaron Judge Also AL MVP Hopefuls

Ohtani’s greatness doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In fact, some may argue his stats have been boosted since moving to the MLB thanks to an uptick in competition against players like Aaron Judge and with those like Mike Trout. The latter is currently pulling ahead of Ohtani in MVP odds.

Both Judge and Trout have posted stronger offensive stats—but neither head to the mound to make a difference there. Additionally, Ohtani’s stats have steadily improved since the 2022 season start, hinting that he has plenty of time to knock down Judge and Trout before the MLB announces its MVPs this autumn.

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