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Shohei Ohtani did in 2022 what no other player in baseball history had done. Still, it wasn’t enough for him to earn American League MVP honors, with the two-way Japanese star finishing second to Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.
And the Angels star apparently wasn’t happy about that.
“I know he’s determined to have an even better year from last year. He wasn’t happy about not winning the MVP I can tell you that,” Angels manager Phil Nevin told MLB Network Radio. “But he wants to win first and foremost.”
While the Angels struggled to a 73-89 record and failed again to reach the postseason, it was through no fault of Ohtani, who put up otherworldly and historic numbers.
On top of finishing fourth in the AL in homers (34), seventh in RBIs (95) and sixth in OPS+ (145), the 28-year-old also went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 starts while leading the AL in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9) and third in total strikeouts (219). In doing so, he became the first player to notch 30 homers and record 10 wins in the same season in MLB history.
The Yankees won 99 games and reached the ALCS before falling to the Astros, with Judge carrying them throughout the season.
The 30-year-old outfielder set an AL record for home runs with 62 and led the majors in RBIs (131), on-base percentage (.425), slugging (.686), OPS (1.11), OPS+ (211) and total bases (391).
In the end, Judge nabbed 28 of the 30 first-place votes, while Ohtani got the other two.
But with the Angels having added Tyler Anderson, Gio Urshela and Hunter Renfroe in the offseason, among other moves, Ohtani is also more concerned with looking ahead than back.
“He’s excited about the pieces we’ve added,” Nevin said. “and he’s really excited to get started with what we have lying ahead of us.”
Ohtani and the Angels recently agreed to a one-year, $30 million deal to avoid arbitration. The Post’s Jon Heyman wrote that Ohtani is poised to become MLB’s first $500 million man this offseason as he hits free agency for the first time.
Adding an MVP trophy to his accolades wouldn’t hurt his chances.