AL MVP Baseball

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels won the AL Most Valuable Player for the second time in three seasons despite a torn elbow ligament that forced him to stop pitching in August. He season as a hitter eventually ended in early September because of an oblique injury. Matt Slocum/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Shohei Ohtani, who has captivated baseball with his unprecedented combination of high-level hitting and premium pitching, became the first two-time unanimous Most Valuable Player when he won the American League honor on Thursday.

In the National League, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. was also a unanimous winner after becoming the first big leaguer with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a season.

Ohtani, a free agent after finishing his contract with the Los Angeles Angels, received all 30 first-place votes and 420 points in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, as did Acuna. There have been 21 unanimous winners, and this year marked the first time two occurred in the same year.

Ohtani was a unanimous MVP in 2021 and finished second to the Yankees’ Aaron Judge last year.

Mookie Betts received all 30 second-place votes and 27 points in the National League, followed by Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Freddie Freeman with 227 points. Betts earned the 2018 AL MVP award with Boston, and Freeman was the 2020 NL MVP with the Dodgers.

Corey Seager was second in the AL with 24 second-place votes and 264 points, and Texas teammate Marcus Semien was third with five second-place votes and 216 points. Balloting took place before the postseason, when the Rangers won their first World Series title.


Acuña was second in the NL with a .336 batting average and led the major leagues with 149 runs, 217 hits, 386 total bases and 73 stolen bases while hitting 41 home runs with 106 RBI. A four-time All-Star who turns 26 next month, Acuña helped Atlanta to a major league-best 104 wins before the Braves lost to Philadelphia in an NL Division Series.

Betts batted .307 with 39 homers and 107 RBI, and Freeman hit .331 with 29 homers and 102 RBI.

Ohtani led the AL with 44 homers and hit .304 with 96 RBI, eight triples and 20 stolen bases in a season at the plate that ended Sept. 3 because of an oblique injury.

Ohtani was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts on the mound, striking out 167 and walking 55 in 132 innings before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23.

Not even Babe Ruth starred at such lofty levels on the mound and at the plate in the same season. Ruth batted .300 with 11 homers and 61 RBI in 1918 while going 13-7 with a 2.22 ERA for Boston, then hit .322 with 29 homers and 113 RBI in 1919 while going 9-5 with a 2.97 ERA. He made just five mound appearances in his final 16 seasons.

Ohtani led the majors with a 10.0 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.

A left-handed batter and right-handed pitcher, Ohtani had right elbow surgery on Sept. 19 and isn’t expected to pitch again until 2025. He underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018, and Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, did not specify details of the latest operation.

Before the injury, it appeared Ohtani could gain the first $500 million contract in baseball history. The three-time All-Star has a .274 average, 171 homers, 437 RBI and 86 steals in six major league seasons, and is 38-19 with a 3.01 ERA in 86 starts, with 608 strikeouts in 481 2/3 innings.

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