Ohtani, 27, comes from a historic season that saw him star both on the mound and at the plate for the Los Angeles Angels, a feat that has raised comparisons to Babe Ruth’s Hall of Fame.
As a starting pitcher, Ohtani made 23 appearances, winning nine games suffering two losses. The Japanese pitcher struck out 156 batters.
As a batsman, he crushed 46 home runs – second only after the 48 HRs hit by Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals and Vlad Guerrero of the Toronto Blue Jays – and drove 100 runs in 155 games. He also stole 26 bases.
Ohtani’s performance at the plate also makes him the first player in American League or National League history with at least 45 home runs, 25 stolen bases and five triples in a season.
Ohtani joins teammate Mike Trout as AL MVP. Trout, who missed most of the 2021 season with injuries, won the award in 2014, 2016 and 2019.
In Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida weighed in on Friday. “It’s an extraordinary achievement and as a Japanese citizen, I feel very proud,” he said.
Harper was named a first-round pick by 17 writers, and a second pick by nine more, sealing his win over Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals, who came second, and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres, who came third.
Harper previously earned an NL MVP when he played for the Washington Nationals in 2015.