Just when you thought there were no more awards for Shohei Ohtani to win after his historic 2021 season, one final piece of hardware gets added to his collection. The Los Angeles Angels two-way star was named the winner of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.
Ohtani already won the Silver Slugger Award at the Designated Hitter spot, and this honor speaks to a similar conclusion: Ohtani was the best DH in the American League in 2021.
While he had a slow second half of the season — presumably because pitchers stopped pitching to him — he still finished with a slash line of .257/.372/.592 for a .965 OPS. He had 80 extra-base hits, including 26 doubles, eight triples, and 46 home runs. He also took 96 walks on the year.
His advanced numbers were amazing as well, as his 152 wRC+ was one of the best in baseball. A .393 wOBA and .409 xwOBA also helped his case to show dominance at the plate. And while it has no bearing on this award, it’s worth mentioning that he also made the All-MLB Second Team as a starting pitcher for his 130 innings of work.
We’ve run out of way to describe just how incredible Ohtani was in 2021, and the amount of awards he’s won almost doesn’t seem real. And luckily, Ohtani and the Angels are supremely confident that he can repeat this level of production in 2022.
Previous winners of this award include Nelson Cruz in 2019 and 2017, Khris Davis in 2018, David Ortiz eight times, and former Angel Vladimir Guerrero. However, Ohtani is the first player to win this award while playing for the Angels.
Guerrero and Kendrys Morales are two former Angels to win this award while playing for another team. Guerrero was with the Texas Rangers and Morales with the Kansas City Royals.
Angels having preliminary trade talks with Reds
While the two sides remain very far apart on a price, the Angels and the Reds have reportedly been discussing a trade for Cincinnati ace Luis Castillo. The Angels have lost out on most of the free agent starting pitchers, meaning a pivot to the trade market might make some sense.