Shohei Ohtani Wins MLB’s Hank Aaron Award as Outstanding Offensive Performer

AP Photo/Ashley Landis
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani answers questions during a baseball news conference at Dodger Stadium Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles.

Ohtani and Acuña win MLB’s Hank Aaron Awards as outstanding offensive performers

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. won the 2023 Hank Aaron Awards on Saturday, presented by Major League Baseball to the most outstanding offensive performer in each league.

The MLB award is picked by fan balloting combined with votes from a panel of Hall of Famers and former winners, a group that this year included Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez, Eddie Murray, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, John Smoltz and Robin Yount.

The pair also won Most Valuable Awards last month in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Ohtani was the first two-time unanimous MVP.

Ohtani became a free agent after the season and left the Los Angeles Angels for a record $700 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He led the AL with 44 homers and hit .304 with 96 RBIs, eight triples and 20 stolen bases in a season at the plate that ended Sept. 3 because of an oblique injury.

The right-hander was 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts on the mound, striking out 167 and walking 55 in 132 innings before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23. He had elbow surgery and won’t pitch next season.

Acuña was a unanimous winner of his first NL MVP after becoming the first big leaguer with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases in a season. Acuña was second in the NL with a .336 batting average for the Atlanta Braves and led the major leagues with 149 runs, 217 hits, 386 total bases and 73 stolen bases while hitting 41 home runs with 106 RBIs.

Every team nominated candidates for the Aaron awards and a group of writers picked nine finalists in each league. The awards were introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record.