Los Angeles Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani received 25 of the 30 first place votes to win the AL Rookie of the Year award over Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees.

Ohtani Acuna Rookie of the Year
Shohei Ohtani impressed both on the mound and at the plate this season, earning him the American League Rookie of the Year award. (Image: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty)

Ohtani became the fourth Japanese-born player to win a Rookie of the Year award, joining Hideo Nomo, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Ichiro Suzuki, all of whom played professional baseball in Japan before making their MLB debut.

Ohtani’s Two-Way Success Not Seen Since Ruth

In his first year, the 24-year-old Ohtani impressed as both a pitcher and a hitter. While he was only able to throw 51.2 innings due to an injury that required Tommy John surgery after the season, he compiled a 4-2 record with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts. Meanwhile, as a designated hitter, Ohtani hit .285 with 22 home runs in just 367 plate appearances.

“I’m really honored to win this award in my first season in the States,” Ohtani said after the award was announced. “It’s my first year, and I think I have a lot of years ahead of me better than this one.”

Ohtani is only the second player to pitch at least 10 times and hit 20 home runs in the same season, joining Babe Ruth, who accomplished the feat in 1919 before becoming a full-time hitter. But despite the accomplishment, Ohtani says he hopes he can be more durable for the Angels in the future.

“Putting numbers aside, I don’t want to talk numbers, I was disappointed I was not able to play full season,” Ohtani said. “Elite players should be able to play a full season and help the team win. That’s one of my goals.”

Miguel Andujar picked up the other five first place votes. The rookie third baseman hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs for a Yankees team that reached the ALDS before being eliminated by the Boston Red Sox.

Acuna Beats Out Soto for NL Honors

The NL Rookie of the Year honors went to Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna, who won 27 of the 30 first place votes available. In 111 games, Acuna hit .293 with 26 homers and 64 RBI, helping lead Atlanta to an unexpected NL East division title.

Before the results of the voting were announced, many expected a close race between Acuna and 20-year-old Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto. While both players put up very similar offensive numbers – Soto hit .292 with 22 homers – Acuna may have gotten the nod due to his superior speed and defensive play, or perhaps because of the success his team enjoyed this season.

“I would like to give thanks to God, my family, my parents and to all my teammates who’ve always supported me from the first day that I got the call to the big leagues,” Acuna said in a statement released by the Braves. “This award represents all our hard work as a team this season.”

Soto picked up two first place votes and finished in second overall, while Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler received one first place vote and came in third.

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