American League Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani said Thursday that while his Los Angeles Angels teammates were all supportive, two-time MVP center fielder Mike Trout made the biggest impression on him.
Speaking at the Japan National Press Club, the same venue where the Japanese star announced one year earlier that he would move to the major leagues, Ohtani praised his Angels teammates.
«My first impression when I joined the club was that all my teammates were amazingly good people, and I felt that they looked out for me and would come up and talk to me,» Ohtani said.
(Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout shake hands after Ohtani hit a two-run home against the Houston Astros on Aug. 25)
«Throughout the year, my first impressions never wavered. I had indeed joined a great team, and I was glad I was able to play baseball with them. That touched me, and I never would have felt that if I hadn’t gone for myself to see what baseball was like over there.»
Upon joining the Angels, Ohtani became teammates with Trout, along with three-time MVP Albert Pujols, four-time All-Star Justin Upton, and four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
«The team was loaded with star players, and they all had some influence on me, but if I have to name one person it would be Mike Trout,» Ohtani said.
«Among baseball’s best he is at the top, and that goes not only for his skill but also his character. He is something special.»
Trout was the last Angel to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award in his 2012 breakout season. He is a seven-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger winner and was the AL RBI leader in 2014, the year he received the Hank Aaron Award. He has also finished second in the MVP voting four times.
All — Kyodo News+