Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani put together one of the greatest individual seasons of all time in 2021. Due to injuries plaguing his first three seasons, there was concern that he would never reach his full potential as a two-way player.
Those concerns were promptly thrown out this season, as Ohtani was a dominant force at the plate and on the mound without ever needing an IL stint. His season was so great, in fact, that he was awarded the 16th ever Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award by Rob Manfred.
It was Manfred’s first time giving out the award, and he could not have chosen a better recipient after a season that was previously thought of as impossible.
Now, Ohtani is looking ahead to next season, and whether or not his Herculean efforts are repeatable. “At this point, I’m not really worried about anything going forward,” Ohtani said of his sustainability. “I feel pretty confident that I could repeat what I did this year. I just need to get out there and play every day and leave the numbers, put up good numbers, and I think I’ll be able to at least have a similar season as this year.”
The Angels star admitted that avoiding the IL was one of the things he was happiest about, and it’s why he’s begun to gain confidence in the repeatability of 2021. “I think the biggest thing I could take from this season was that I was able to finish the season without getting hurt or being on the IL. So this experience is definitely going to help me out going forward.”
Ohtani put himself in elite company in 2021, and he hopes to do the same in 2022. It may be even easier next year, as the returns of a healthy Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon figure to provide Ohtani with more support in the lineup. It will be much harder to pitch around Ohtani if Trout or Rendon is up to bat next.
It’s unclear exactly what Ohtani will look like when he takes the field next season, but if he can produce at a rate even remotely similar to 2021, he and the Angels will be in great shape.
Ohtani named Silver Slugger finalist
The awards are not going to stop flowing in for Ohtani until next season begins. In addition to the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, Ohtani was named a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award in the American League DH position.
Winners will be announced on Nov. 11 at 3:00 p.m. PT.