On Thursday, Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani was named a finalist for the Players Choice Award’s Player of the Year honors. Less recently, he was awarded Player of the Year by Baseball Digest. On Friday, the awards kept rolling in, as Baseball America has given him their Player of the Year Award as well.
Ohtani is going to be profusely rewarded over the next few weeks after a historic 2021 season. By the numbers, the Angels star had a top five season at the plate, hitting 46 home runs and 100 RBIs with a .965 OPS. He also had around a top 20 season as a pitcher, with a 3.18 ERA and 1.090 WHIP while striking out 156 over 130.1 innings pitched.
Baseball America released their 2021 award winners on Friday, with Ohtani taking the grand prize. He wins the Player of the Year award over the other finalists of Bryce Harper, Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
All of this success goes back to the plan put in place by general manager Perry Minasian, who said that Ohtani was going to play as often as he wanted when he first arrived in Anaheim last offseason, according to Kyle Glaser of Baseball America:
“From my experience being around players my entire life, especially major league players, I don’t like limitations,” Minasian said. “I don’t believe in limitations. So for us, I think it was more, let’s let him play.”
“I think part of the message we wanted to relay was, ‘This is your career,’ and I think Joe did a great job of relaying that message, too,” Minasian said. “This is your career, take ownership of it, we’re not going to tell you what to do.”
Health permitting, Minasian hopes that Ohtani can do this again next year, although it’s fair to question the sustainability of this historic level of play.
Regardless, the 2021 season will always live in the memory of the sport of baseball. Ohtani was dominant through and through, and while it didn’t lead to team success, the individual accolades he’ll receive this offseason should feel like the world’s best consolation prize.
Matt Swanson out as director of amateur scouting
While Ohtani nabs every award under the sun, the Angels are hard at work figuring out their staff changes for next season. In their third big decision of the offseason, they removed Matt Swanson as the team’s director of amateur scouting.
They gave him the option to stay in the organization, but in a different role, or find a job elsewhere.