Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2021 Most Valuable Player awards yesterday. The top vote-getter in the National League was past winner Bryce Harper. In the American League, two-way Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani unanimously won top honors. Ohtani became the first unanimous MVP since Harper did it in 2015.
Bryce Harper, 29-year-old outfielder for the Phillies, posted a .309/.429/.615 hitting line, leading his league in slugging percentage. He smashed 35 home runs and a league-leading 42 doubles to help accrue that slugging clip. Harper also led the National League in OPS+, a barometer of sorts for MLB players where 100 is an average hitter, with a 179.
In the American League, Shohei Ohtani was the story of the year. Ohtani was both the best hitter on his Los Angeles Angels and their ace pitcher. He hit .257/.372/.592 (with a 158 OPS+) in 155 games. He was second in his league in slugging percentage, home runs (46), and OPS (.965), to go along with 26 stolen bases. As if that was not enough to get MVP consideration, he also won nine games on the mound with a team-leading 3.18 ERA and struck out 156 batters. It was a truly Ruthian effort from Shohei and a well-earned unanimous MVP award.
Both winners this year were clearly deserving, and the former first overall pick Harper is well on his way to being a Hall of Famer, but 2021 will definitely be known as the Year of Shohei. For more of my thoughts on Ohtani, you can check out this Front Porch News article from August: https://frontporchnewstexas.com/2021/08/24/ohtani-for-mvp-statistically-theres-no-competition/
Story by Jordan Miesse