In a historic moment for Major League Baseball, Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani and Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. have been unanimously named the Most Valuable Players by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Both players earned all 30 first-place votes in their respective leagues, solidifying their dominance in the 2022 season.
Ohtani’s Unprecedented Achievement
Shohei Ohtani’s remarkable season has earned him a special place in baseball history. He became the first player ever to be named unanimous American League MVP twice, a testament to his extraordinary talent and consistency. Ohtani’s journey to this honor was not without its challenges, as he finished in second place last season, but he returned stronger and more determined to claim the MVP title.
The 29-year-old Japanese star showcased his versatility, leading the American League in home runs with an impressive 44. He also topped the major leagues in OPS at 1.066, accompanied by a .304 batting average and 20 stolen bases. As a pitcher, Ohtani displayed his prowess, finishing with a 10-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts for the Los Angeles Angels. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in August.
Looking ahead, Ohtani is poised to become one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason. His contract with the Angels, the only team he has played for since coming to the major leagues in 2018, has expired. Before his injuries, the two-time MVP was projected to command a contract worth more than $500 million, which translates to approximately $50 million per year, as reported by the New York Post.
In his acceptance speech, Ohtani expressed gratitude and acknowledged his rivals, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, who had outstanding seasons and contributed to the Texas Rangers’ World Series victory. He emphasized the importance of hard work paying off in achieving his goals.
Acuña’s Record-Breaking Season
On the National League side, Ronald Acuña Jr. secured his first NL MVP award after an incredible season that will be remembered for years to come. Acuña’s performance in the 2022 season was nothing short of historic. He hit an impressive 41 home runs and led the majors with a staggering 73 stolen bases, becoming the sixth member in MLB history to join the prestigious 40-40 club. What’s more, he achieved unprecedented milestones by being the first player ever to reach the 40-50, 40-60, and 40-70 clubs in a single season. Before this season, no player had tallied more than 46 steals during a 40-plus home run season.
Acuña’s contributions extended beyond his power and speed. He also led the majors in runs scored (149), hits (217), on-base percentage (.416), and OPS (1.012), showcasing his well-rounded excellence on the field.
In an emotional statement in Spanish on MLB Network, surrounded by friends and family, Acuña expressed his joy and gratitude for the award. He thanked fans in Venezuela and Latin America for their unwavering support and looked forward to an even better season in the upcoming year, expressing his hope that he can improve upon his outstanding performance.
Acuña secured 420 points in the MVP race, surpassing Los Angeles Dodgers’ players Mookie Betts with 270 points and Freddie Freeman with 227 points to claim his first career MVP award.
A Historic Moment
This year’s announcement of two unanimous MVPs by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America marks a historic moment in the sport. Dating back to 1931, there had never been two unanimous MVPs announced in the same season, highlighting the exceptional seasons that Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. had in 2022.
The 2022 MLB season will be remembered for the exceptional performances of Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. Their unanimous MVP wins are a testament to their incredible talents and dedication to the game. As they move forward in their careers, baseball fans around the world eagerly await to see what new records and achievements they will accomplish.