The Great Debate: Ohtani or Vladdy?

Source: USA Today

With the season in the books the AL MVP race looks to be a two horse race between Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and the Japanese juggernaut Shohei Ohtani. Both players have had stellar years, and there is no doubt they are the two most deserving players in the league. However, only one can be named Most Valuable Player unfortunately. So the question is; is it Vladdy, or is it Ohtani?

Realistically if this were any other year Guerrero would be a lock for MVP, however despite racking up a monstrous year, Ohtani is literally making history. The Angels dual-threat was the first player in MLB history to be selected as a hitter and pitcher in the all-star game. As impressive as it is making an all-star team, it’s doubly so doing it on both sides of the ball.

We have to remember that Vladdy came into this with a ton of question marks surrounding his play, and his future. 2020 wasn’t very kind to the youngster, and the lustre of being one of the game’s top prospects was starting to fade out amongst the fans. With that said, his numbers are staggering, and what's more impressive is his consistency. Unlike Ohtani, Vladdy has surged to newer heights in the second half, while Ohtani and his Angels faded.

What Do The Numbers Say?

Like I said, Ohtani had a an absolutely historic season. And even though he slowed down in the second of the year, what he did this year is nonetheless impressive. But Vladdy was essentially in the triple crown race the whole year. He finished tied for first in Home Runs, third in Batting Average, fifth in RBI's, and led the league in Offensive WAR, OPS, OBP and Slugging. He is a monster.

Ohtani is a dangerous man with a bat in his hand as well. He finished inside the top ten in OBP, OPS, Slugging, Home Runs, Stolen Bases and even led the league in Triples, as well as leading the league in overall WAR. Not too shabby for a guy pulling double duty. On the mound, the Angels ace went 9-2 with an ERA of 3.18, and a FIP of 3.52. He also struck 152 batters in just 130 innings pitched. Not quite Cy Young worthy, but very good numbers regardless.

Final Thoughts

The only knock against Ohtani is how woeful the Angels were this season. No matter how you spin it, how valuable is Ohtani if his team finishes close to the bottom of their division? Although, that's never stopped Trout from being a perennial favourite for the award. Yes, Vladdy and his Jays also missed the postseason, however they were a 90 win team and play in a division where there are three other teams who have also accomplished that feat.

Former Blue Jay and 2015 MVP winner Josh Donaldson gave his take a few weeks back when asked about why he doesn't have Ohtani taking home the award:

"A DH has never won the MVP because he’s not impacting the game on all sides.”

Vegas currently has Ohtani as the favourite for taking home the AL MVP, like he’s been for most of the season. But Guerrero Jr. has slowly narrowed the gap and has made this race razor thin.

The fact that Ohtani has been great across the board on both sides of the equation should give him the award. If it were any other year Vladdy would already be wearing the crown. Still, you can’t overlook Vladdy's production and the impact he had on the Jays success this season.


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