Ohtani leads MLB with 31 home runs and has 60 runs, 67 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and a .278/.366/.704 line.
That line alone would give him plenty of first-place votes for the MVP, but hey, that’s not all.
Ohtani has a 3.60 ERA as a pitcher in 60 innings, with 12.45 strikeouts per nine innings.
That kind of two-way dominance is unseen in the modern era, and it makes Ohtani the heavy favorite for the MVP award.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 29, 2021
But there may be other candidates, too, and here are three of them.
3. Carlos Correa
The Houston Astros have the second-best record in the American League at 52-33.
Shortstop Carlos Correa is responsible for much of that success, as he is putting up his best campaign in the major leagues in his contract year.
Correa is hitting .298/.398/.529 with 16 home runs and 61 runs scored in 79 games.
He is also playing some of the best defense of his career, and he has been one of the Astros’ best hitter in a stacked lineup.
Correa will be a free agent after the season and will likely command a multi-year deal, so he is surely motivated to put the best possible numbers in 2021.
Will it be enough for him to win the MVP award over Ohtani and other candidates?
It’s unlikely, but he is having a phenomenal season.
2. Rafael Devers
Devers is slashing .289/.357/.577 with 20 home runs and a league-leading 70 RBI.
His defense is also improved, and his presence as a steady run producer has helped Boston achieve unexpected success in 2021.
In a normal MLB season without such a unique player like Ohtani, Devers could earn some first-place votes for the AL MVP award.
As things stand now, that appears unlikely, but there is no denying that Devers has been extremely valuable for the Red Sox.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
After Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the strongest candidate to win the AL MVP award in 2021.
Currently slashing .336/.438/.671, Guerrero Jr. has a chance to win the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012.
As of Monday afternoon, Vladdy is second in batting average (Michael Brantley leads with .340), second in homers with 27 (Ohtani’s 31 pace the whole league), and second in RBI with 69 (behind Devers’ 70).
As you can see, the possibilities are real.
Unfortunately, not even a Triple Crown may guarantee him the MVP award if Ohtani continues to excel as a pitcher and as a hitter.
Vlad Guerrero could win the Triple Crown and still not win the MVP. Vladito v Ohtani might be an all time race.
— jdrury12 (@jdrury12) July 3, 2021
It’s just so unique of a profile that most voters would be captivated.
Guerrero has no choice but to keep his concentration level high and put the best possible numbers, and perhaps a sizable portion of the voters will side with him.
Other MVP candidates in the AL are Bogaerts, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Toronto Blue Jays second-sacker Marcus Semien, Chicago White Sox starters Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon, and Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez.