Doosan ace Miranda named KBO MVP
Doosan Bears ace Ariel Miranda was named the KBO MVP for the 2021 season on Monday with 588 of the 920 points available.
Miranda takes the league’s top honor after a record-breaking season that saw him lead the KBO with a 2.33 ERA and 255 strikeouts, the highest number of strikeouts ever recorded by a pitcher in a single season.
He narrowly missed out on a pitching triple crown, finishing tied for fourth with 14 wins, two behind joint leaders Eric Jokisch of the Kiwoom Heroes and David Buchanan of the Samsung Lions.
Miranda is the seventh foreign player to win the KBO MVP award and the fourth foreign pitcher. He is the first Cuban national to take the league’s top prize.
This year marks the third consecutive year that a foreign player has won the MVP award, after Josh Lindblom of the Bears in 2019 and Mel Rojas Jr of the KT Wiz last year. The awardee is chosen based on media votes.
As the winner, Miranda takes home 10 million won ($8,000) in prize money.
The Cuban ace’s success this season is a particularly strong endorsement of the Doosan scouting machine, as all four foreign pitchers to take the top honor in the league have come from the Bears — three of them in the last six years.
Danny Rios was the first foreign pitcher to win the MVP award in 2007, followed by Dustin Nippert in 2016, Lindblom in 2019 and Miranda this year.
Miranda was followed in the MVP voting by Lee Jung-hoo of the Heroes, with 329 points, and Kang Baek-ho of the Wiz, with 320 points.
Miranda did not appear at the award ceremony at the Imperial Palace Seoul on Monday as he has already left Korea for the offseason, but in a prerecorded video message he thanked his family and the Bears for giving him the opportunity.
"It's a great honor to receive the award given to the best player in the KBO," Miranda was quoted as saying on Yonhap. "A baseball season is long, and I think I was able to find success because I was very well prepared mentally and physically. I will try to keep putting up great numbers."
Kia Tigers starter Lee Eui-lee took the Rookie of the Year award at Monday’s ceremony, with 417 out of 575 points.
Lee picked up four wins and five losses with a 3.61 ERA in an injury-ridden debut season that saw him miss a good chunk of the second half of the season.
Lee wins 3 million won in prize money ($2,500) with the award.
Lotte Giants second-year reliever Choi Jun-yong was the runner-up for the award, having failed to throw enough innings last year. He lost out to Lee by 49 points.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]