Dodgers News: Shohei Ohtani Named AP Male Athlete Of The Year For 2023

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

Shohei Ohtani was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year for his contributions with the Los Angeles Angels and Team Japan in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Ohtani received 20 of 87 votes by a panel of sports media professionals, beating out Inter Miami CF superstar Lionel Messi, tennis great Novak Djokovic and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets for 2023 Male Athlete of the Year.

Ohtani was previously named the AP Male Athlete of the Year in 2021, joining the likes of Lance Armstrong, Don Budge, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Sandy Koufax, Carl Lewis, Joe Montana, Byron Nelson, Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods to win the award multiple times.

The two-way superstar began his impressive year by helping Team Japan win the World Baseball Classic. He batted .435 with four doubles and a home run as a hitter, and also posted a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings on the mound en route to winning MVP honors.

Ohtani memorably struck out then-Angels teammate Mike Trout to clinch the title over the United States in the championship game.

Ohtani continued his dominance with the Angels as he hit a stellar .304/.412/.654 with 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 599 plate appearances this year (135 games).

The 29-year-old led the American League in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base plus slugging (1.066), walk rate (15.2%), wRC+ (180), total bases (325) and rWAR (10.0).

As a pitcher, Ohtani went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.06 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine in 132 innings pitched (23 starts). His season was cut short due to a UCL injury that required surgery and will keep him off the mound until 2025.

Ohtani was unanimously named the 2023 AL MVP, becoming the first player in MLB history to earn all 30 first-place votes twice in a season after previously accomplishing that in 2021.

Shohei Ohtani’s Dodgers contract

After his historic season, Ohtani became the most coveted free agent and went on to sign a record-setting 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers.

Ohtani’s deal came with unprecedented deferrals as he will earn only $2 million per season over the life of the contract. He agreed to structure his deal this way so the Dodgers can build the best possible team.

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