In all likelihood, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani will win the American League MVP Thursday evening. He will be honored as an Angels player, but he’s currently a free agent. He’s going to become the 32nd player in MLB history to win multiple MVPs. It’s a group headed up by Barry Bonds’ seven and goes all the way back to the likes of Walter Johnson, Mickey Cochrane and Rogers Hornsby.
The list gets a lot more exclusive once we require a third MVP. Ten players have won at least three MVPs while Bonds has seven. Here’s the list:
- Barry Bonds: 7 (1990, 1992-93, 2001-04)
- Jimmie Foxx: 3 (1932-33, 1938)
- Joe DiMaggio: 3 (1939, 1941, 1947)
- Stan Musial: 3 (1943, 1946, 1948)
- Roy Campanella: 3 (1951, 1953, 1955)
- Yogi Berra: 3 (1951, 1954-55)
- Mickey Mantle: 3 (1956-57, 1960)
- Mike Schmidt: 3 (1980-81, 1986)
- Alex Rodriguez: 3 (2003, 2005, 2007)
- Albert Pujols: 3 (2005, 2008-09)
- Mike Trout: 3 (2014, 2016, 2019)
Ohtani has basically been able to have three seasons where he was close to healthy enough to be a full-time, two-way player. He won two MVPs and it took a historic season from Aaron Judge to force Ohtani into the runner-up spot in 2022.
I bring this up because it’s clear that, during his prime, Ohtani is incredibly likely to win MVP in every two-way season unless there’s a historic season up against him.
Oh, Ohtani also finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2022 and he’s certainly got enough talent to win that award, too.
Everyone can probably see where this is heading, so let’s just get to it. How many MVPs and Cy Youngs will Ohtani win in his career? Let’s attempt to correctly predict.
The AL Cy Young race was actually a relatively open field. Had Ohtani avoided injury and closed strong, he would’ve had a legitimate chance to win it. And to reiterate, he finished fourth in voting in 2022. That was with 28 starts, so he might not even need a season with 30-plus starts in order to win the award.
On the other hand, he’s now had elbow surgery twice. Given how important his bat is, there’s a distinct possibility that another arm injury means he’s shut down from pitching forever. There’s also the chance that Ohtani could be moved to a relief role instead of starter at some point, making him a combo DH/closer, which would be all kinds of fun. That would still give him plenty of bonus points in any MVP race, but it’s a lot tougher for closers to win the Cy Young these…