Shohei Ohtani, who starred as a hitter and pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, won the American League MVP Award unanimously, becoming the 11th player to sweep the voting in the AL.
The other unanimous winners in the AL: Hank Greenberg (1935), Al Rosen (1953), Mickey Mantle (1956), Frank Robinson (1966), Denny McLain (1968), Reggie Jackson (1973), Jose Canseco (1988), Frank Thomas (1993), Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) and Mike Trout (2014). There have been seven unanimous winners in the National League.
In addition to making 23 starts as a pitcher, Ohtani was a designated hitter in 126 of the 132 games he played when not pitching. He is the first full-time DH to be named MVP. Previously, only four full-time DHs finished as high as second in MVP voting — Paul Molitor with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993, Frank Thomas with the Chicago White Sox in 2000, David Ortiz with the Boston Red Sox in 2005 and Victor Martinez with the Detroit Tigers in 2014.
Ohtani is the second Japanese-born player honored. The other was the Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.
Ohtani is the 11th former AL Rookie of the Year Award winner (2018) to go on to win an MVP Award, including Suzuki and Fred Lynn (1975), the only players to win both awards in the same season. There have been 18 National League Rookie of the Year winners who also were MVPs. Included in those lists are two players who won the awards in alternate leagues: Frank Robinson (NL Rookie of the Year in 1956, AL MVP in 1966) and Dick Allen (NL Rookie of the Year in 1964, AL MVP in 1972). Others to win both awards in the AL were Thurman Munson, Rod Carew, Cal Ripken Jr., Jose Canseco, Dustin Pedroia, Justin Verlander, Mike Trout and Jose Abreu.
This marks the sixth time an Angels player has been elected. The other franchise winners were Don Baylor in 1979, Vladimir Guerrero in 2004 and Trout in 2014, ‘16 and ‘19.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., this year’s runner-up, is the first son of a former MVP winner to receive an MVP vote.
Trout, who was limited to 36 games this season because of injury, did not receive MVP mention. That ended a run of nine consecutive seasons in which he finished in the top five in the balloting with three first-place finishes, four seconds, one fourth and one fifth.
This is the first year since wild cards were added to the postseason format in 1995 that the first three players in AL MVP balloting were not on playoff teams. It has happened twice in the NL: 1995 and this year.
Ohtani, Guerrero, Marcus Semien and Aaron Judge were the only players named on each ballot.
Ballots, submitted before the postseason, were cast by two writers in each league city. They are tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third on down to one for 10th.
2021 AL MVP
|Shohei Ohtani, Angels||30||420|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays||29||1||269|
|Marcus Semien, Blue Jays||24||4||2||232|
|Aaron Judge, Yankees||3||5||9||7||5||1||171|
|Carlos Correa, Astros||11||6||7||1||3||1||163|
|Jose Ramirez, Indians||4||8||3||6||4||3||133|
|Salvador Perez, Royals||1||2||3||6||2||3||3||4||103|
|Matt Olson, Athletics||2||2||1||9||5||3||2||90|
|Cedric Mullins, Orioles||1||2||2||3||9||9||1||87|
|Brandon Lowe, Rays||2||1||2||5||4||34|
|Rafael Devers, Red Sox||1||2||1||8||28|
|Bo Bichette, Blue Jays||1||1||2||7|
|Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox||2||3||7|
|Jose Abreu, White Sox||1||1||5|
|Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox||1||4|
|Robbie Ray, Blue Jays||1||4|
|Gerrit Cole, Yankees||1||1||4|
|Jose Altuve, Astros||1||1||3|
|Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays||1||2|
|Kyle Tucker, Astros||1||1|
|Mike Zunino, Rays||1||1|
|Austin Meadows, Rays||1||1|
|Mitch Haniger, Mariners||1||1|