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Shohei Ohtani is AL Rookie of the Year; Ronald Acuna Jr. wins NL honor

NEW YORK — Two-way star Shohei Ohtani was a singular sensation in voting for AL Rookie of the Year.

Eugene Hoshiko, The Associated Press

The Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. hits a ball to Japanese junior high school students during an MLB All Stars Baseball clinic as part of All-Stars Series baseball games at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

A standout on the mound and at the plate for the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani was an overwhelming pick for American League Rookie of the Year after becoming the first player since Babe Ruth a century ago with 10 homers and four pitching wins in the same season.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was a runaway pick for the NL honor over Washington outfielder Juan Soto in a contest between 20-year-olds.

A 24-year-old right-hander who joined the Angels last winter after five seasons with Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani received 25 first-place votes and four seconds for 137 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Monday.

A pair of New York Yankees infielders followed. Miguel Andujar was second with five firsts and 89 points, and Gleyber Torres was next with 25 points.

Ohtani was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings in 10 starts, limited by a torn elbow ligament that required surgery on Oct. 1 and likely will prevent him from pitching next year. As a designated hitter, he batted .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs and a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances. He became the first player with 15 homers as a batter and 50 strikeouts as a pitcher in the same season.

Ohtani is the first Japanese player to win the honor since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and the fourth overall.

Andujar hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBIs in 149 games. The 23-year-old third baseman set a Yankees rookie record with 47 doubles, three more than Joe DiMaggio in 1936, and tied the AL rookie mark for doubles set by Boston’s Fred Lynn in 1975.

Torres, 21, began the season at Triple-A after missing the second half of 2017 with a torn ligament in his non-throwing arm. The second baseman made his big league debut April 22 and hit .271 with 24 homers and 77 RBIs.

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