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(LEAD) Bears' ace Ariel Miranda voted 2021 KBO MVP

All News 15:52 November 29, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS details, comments, photo)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- Doosan Bears' left-hander Ariel Miranda captured the most valuable player (MVP) award in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Monday, earning well-deserved recognition for his record-breaking performance.

Miranda garnered 588 points out of a maximum 920 points. He also picked up 10 million won (US$8,370) in prize money. He is the first Cuban native to win an MVP award in the KBO and seventh foreign player to be so honored.

Miranda led the KBO with a 2.33 ERA and 225 strikeouts, a new single-season record by two. Miranda broke the mark set by the late Lotte Giants legend Choi Dong-won in 1984 and also won Choi's namesake award, presented annually to the top pitcher in South Korea, earlier this month.

In this file photo from Nov. 17, 2021, Ariel Miranda of the Doosan Bears pitches against the KT Wiz in the top of the first inning in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Miranda, 32, fell one category shy of winning the pitching Triple Crown, as he tied for fourth in wins with 14.

Miranda tied for first with 21 quality starts -- an outing in which a starter goes at least six innings and allows three or fewer earned runs -- and led all pitchers with 6.67 in wins above replacement, as measured by Sports 2i, the official statistics provider for the KBO.

In MVP balloting, players earn points based on top-five votes cast by media: eight for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.

Miranda collected 59 first-place votes and 19 second-place votes.

Kiwoom Heroes' outfielder Lee Jung-hoo was the runner-up with 329 points, on 12 first-place votes and 31 second-place votes, among others. KT Wiz first baseman Kang Baek-ho finished third with 320 points. Kang had 17 first-place votes, five more than Lee, but Kang received 83 total votes, 10 fewer than Lee.

In this file photo from Nov. 17, 2021, Ariel Miranda of the Doosan Bears celebrates the end of the top of the first inning against the KT Wiz in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Miranda, who has pitched in the majors, Japan and Taiwan, is the third straight foreign player to be named KBO's MVP, following Mel Rojas Jr. of the KT Wiz in 2020 and Josh Lindblom of the Bears in 2019.

Miranda is the fourth foreign-born pitcher to be so honored, and all four of them pitched for the Bears in their MVP seasons.

In a pretaped video message, Miranda, who has already left South Korea for the offseason, thanked his family for their support and the Bears for giving him the opportunity to play in the KBO.

"It's a great honor to receive the award given to the best player in the KBO," Miranda said. "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."

Doosan Bears' pitching coach Bae Young-soo holds the Korea Baseball Organization most valuable player trophy on behalf of his pitcher, Ariel Miranda, during an awards ceremony in Seoul on Nov. 29, 2021. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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