FILE PHOTO – Japanese pitching and hitting star Shohei Ohtani works out ahead of his move to the Los Angeles Angels in Kamagaya, east of Tokyo, Japan January 5, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato
(Reuters) – Japanese two-way standout Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels was rewarded for a tremendous Major League Baseball debut season as he was named the runaway winner of the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year award on Monday.
Ohtani collected 25 first-place votes among the 30 ballots by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to best New York Yankees infielders Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, who finished second and third respectively.
The 24-year-old Ohtani, a coveted offseason signing who was under the microscope throughout the season, quickly proved that he possessed the skillset to be both a starting pitcher and full-time hitter in Major League Baseball.
Ohtani, who signed with the Angels after five seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, had a .285 batting average with 22 home runs and 61 runs batted in. On the mound, he went 4-2 with a 3.31 earned run average.
But Ohtani’s season was marked by adversity as he suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in June. He stopped pitching and underwent Tommy John surgery after the season and may not be able to pitch again until 2020.
Ohtani is the fourth Japanese-born player to win Rookie of the Year honors, and the third in the American League along with Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001). The National League winner from Japan was Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo in 1995.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was named the National League Rookie of the Year after collecting 27 first-place votes.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury