Ohtani wins Baseball Digest player of year; Scherzer top arm

Sports
Shohei Ohtani

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani watches the path of his solo home run against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels was selected major league player of the year by Baseball Digest and eBay.

Max Scherzer was voted pitcher of the year and Josh Hader was picked as the top reliever in awards announced Thursday.

Ohtani received 16 first-place votes in balloting by a 19-member panel of baseball writers and broadcasters that included several former players, managers and executives.

At the plate, Ohtani hit 46 home runs — third-most in the majors — and had 100 RBIs while compiling a .965 OPS that ranked fifth. He scored 103 runs, stole 25 bases and even tied for the big league lead with eight triples.

He became the only player in history with at least 45 homers, 25 doubles, 25 steals and eight triples in one season.

On the mound, the right-hander from Japan went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 starts. He struck out 156 batters and walked 44 in 130 1/3 innings.

It was a two-way performance unmatched in baseball annals, even by Babe Ruth.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got two first-place votes and came in second, 14 points behind Ohtani. Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was third and Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who received the other first-place vote, finished fourth.

Scherzer, traded from Washington to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30, went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 179 1/3 innings. He was 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts for the Dodgers.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner received eight first-place votes and beat out Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, who led the majors with a 2.43 ERA and was picked first on four ballots.

Scherzer also won Baseball Digest pitcher of the year in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.

Hader was a runaway winner with 16 first-place votes after converting 34 of 35 save chances for NL Central champion Milwaukee this season. He went 4-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 60 appearances covering 58 2/3 innings. The left-hander didn’t give up a run in his final 21 outings.

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