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Baseball: Ohtani named finalist for AL Rookie of the Year Award

Shohei Ohtani is one of three finalists for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

The 24-year-old, who pitched and hit for the Los Angeles Angels after spending five professional seasons in Japan, is in the running with a pair of New York Yankees infielders, third baseman Miguel Andujar, 23, and middle infielder Gleyber Torres who will turn 22 next month.

As a right-handed pitcher, Ohtani went 4-2 in 10 starts with a 3.31 ERA. He struck out 63 batters in 51-2/3 innings. As the Angels’ primary designated hitter, Ohtani batted .285 with 21 doubles, two triples and 22 home runs. He went 10-for-14 as a base stealer, scored 59 runs and drove in 61.

Andujar batted .297, scored 83 runs and drove in 92, hit 47 doubles, two triples and 27 homers. Torres hit. 271, scored 54 runs and drove in 77, hit 16 doubles, a triple and 24 homers.

While both Yankees’ offensive stat totals are more impressive, Ohtani generated his while making just 240 outs, compared to Andujar’s 417 and Torres’ 330.

(Gleyber Torres)[Getty/Kyodo]

Ohtani made his mark as one of the majors’ hardest-throwing pitchers and hardest-hitting batters. His fastball averaged 96.7 miles (155.6 kilometers) per hour, 36th on a list that is almost all short relievers. As a hitter, the average speed of balls coming off Ohtani’s bat ranked 12th among batters with 200 or more plate appearances.

Ohtani had Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1 to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow — a procedure that will prevent him from pitching for more than a year. But as a left-handed hitter, it is possible he will be ready to bat on Opening Day.

Speaking at the general managers meetings, Angels GM Billy Eppler spoke about Ohtani’s follow-up appointment with team doctors last Thursday.

«Everything was great,» Eppler said, according to mlb.com. «The doc was very encouraged. He is pretty much at full extension, so his range of motion looks great.»

If Ohtani is named rookie of the year next Tuesday, he will be the fourth Japanese player to earn that honor after starting pitcher Hideo Nomo in 1995, reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000, and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2001.

(Miguel Andujar)[Getty/Kyodo]

All — Kyodo News+

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