The AP Male Athlete of the Year award is one of the most unique awards for all athletes. With many outstanding athletes to choose from this year. However, this year’s winner is Angels star player Shohei Ohtani becoming the first Japanese athlete to win the award. This year having spectacular performances from the mound and as a hitter.
To become an AP Male Athlete of the Year takes an unprecedented amount of sports brilliance and something that we rarely witness. Ohtani was able to do that this season with the world captured by astonishing performances.
Winning the American League MVP unanimously put together a season that has not been seen in a hundred years. The last time we saw a two-way player be one of the best power hitters and pitchers since Babe Ruth with the Red Sox in 1919.
Ohtani hit 46 home runs and 100 runs batted in with a .965 on-base percentage. His 46 home runs ranked him third in the major league but lead the way in home runs for the majority of the year. As one of the best-designated hitters in the American League, he was awarded a Silver Slugger award.
His speed on the basepaths made him an additional threat on offense. He stole 26 bases while scoring 100 runs. In addition to all that, he led the league with eight triples with the most memorable having two in the same game against the Mariners.
Let’s not forget how he performed on the mound as well. Ohtani was the best pitcher in the Angels staff last year starting 33 games with a 3.18 earned run average with 156 strikeouts.
The man can do it all, and it is truly exciting to see how many more memorable seasons Ohtani can have in the MLB.
Baseball Players that have Won the AP Male Athlete of the Year
Ohtani is the first baseball player to win the award since Jose Altuve won it in 2017. In the past 20 years, not many baseball players have won the award. In addition to Ohtani and Altuve, Madison Bumgarner won the award in 2014, and Barry Bonds won it in 2001. This truly shows how hard it is to earn this award with so many spectacular athletes in the world. Now out of these four players that have won the award how does Ohtani rank among them.
Altuve in 2017 had a fantastic season batting .346 and lead the American League with 204 hits. He also became the second Astro to win an MVP and put on a stellar performance in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bumgarner was a man amongst men in 2014. After posting a career-high in wins with 18 and having a 2.98 earned run average in the regular season he took control in the postseason. After taking care of the Pirates in the wild card, the Giants took care of the Nationals in the divisional series. Then against the Cardinals in the national league championship series (NLCS), he helped his team clinch the World Series and won NLCS MVP. He was then named World Series MVP after going 2-0 posting a 0.43 ERA and game into close game 7 with five scoreless innings.
Barry Bonds 2001 season showed off remarkable strength from the power hitter. He hit 73 home runs, batted .328 with 137 runs batted in, and won his fourth MVP award. He smashed Mark McGwire’s home run record and broke two of Babe Ruth’s records with 177 walls and his out-of-this-world slugging percentage.
With all this information it is hard to rank these outstanding performances. The three other players on this list were unable to do what Ohtani has been able to do which is be a league-leading pitcher and hitter. What he does not have compared to Bumgarner and Altuve is playoff success and world series wins.
Overall, Bumgarner in the past twenty years is the best baseball player to win this award. The success he had during the regular season to then see that transfer to the playoffs as a beast on the mound carrying his team. It is arguably the best pitching performance we will ever see in the playoffs.
Second, would have to be Ohtani because of how dominant he was this season from a pitching and hitting standpoint. This generation has never seen a talent like this before and might not see it again for a very long time.
Third, would be Jose Altuve’s 2017 season because of how he carried his team through the regular season as one of the best teams in baseball. Then to battle through the post-season going seven long games against the New York Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the World Series. He carried his team in both series and showed how he was the best player in the league in both series.
Barry Bonds is last because of how this season could be seen as skewed with the Bonds using steroids starting in 2001. The stats he produced are remarkable, however cheating his way through lands him last on this list of AP Male Athletes of the Year.
Overall, these players have made an impact on the game of baseball. The years these players won the award are some of the most memorable baseball years for fans all over the world.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images