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Angels’ Shohei Ohtani beats Yankees duo to win AL Rookie of the Year

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani beats Yankees duo to win AL Rookie of the Year

Ohtani joins Hideo Nomo (1995), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) as Japanese players to be honored after his debut year in Major League Baseball. The Angels star was particularly proud to be the first from his country to win the award since Suzuki did so 17 years ago.

“[Suzuki] is someone that [Ohtani] watched ever since he was a little kid and always looked up to until this day,” said Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

The Angels had high hopes for both Ohtani’s bat and his pitching arm, and the 24-year-old lived up to the hype in his first season with the Angels, hitting .285 with 22 home runs and a .564 slugging percentage that would have ranked fourth in the AL if he’d had enough plate appearances to qualify for the leaderboards.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Angels slugger Mike Trout lauded Ohtani in a statement released by the team.2

“I want to pass along my congratulations to Shohei for this special honor,” Trout said. “It’s great to see all of his hard work and effort recognized with this very prestigious award. All of us enjoyed playing alongside and watching Shohei excel as a two-way player and make history along the way. I have no doubt the best is yet to come!”

In 51.2 innings over 10 starts, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts, flashing the ace-caliber stuff that had teams eager to sign him primarily for his ability on the mound.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The bat was more impressive than anticipated, however, and Ohtani joined Babe Ruth as the only players to hit at least 20 home runs and pitch at least 50 innings in the same season. Ruth did that in 1919 — his last season as a pitcher. The Red Sox sold him to the Yankees that offseason, and he became a full-time outfielder in 1920.

Ohtani will serve as a full-time hitter in 2019, as he underwent Tommy John surgery the day after the regular season ended. The surgery will likely prevent him from pitching in 2019, but he should see significant time as the Angels’ designated hitter, though he might not be ready at the start of the season.