Shohei Ohtani Is Having The Greatest Season Ever (Again)
I never thought the Ohtani experiment would work, and I sure as hell didn’t think it would work consistently, but here we are. Shohei Ohtani is the best baseball player in the world. He has surpassed Mike Trout to me. Now the sad irony of that statement is that both of those men play for the same team, and that team can’t seem to stay within 15 games of first place, but that’s beside the point.
While the analytical data may not suggest it, I believe Shohei Ohtani's 2021 season may have been the most incredible season of the modern age. I wrote a blog about it last year. Well, he’s doing it again. As a hitter, Ohtani's numbers, while still fantastic, are slightly down. That’s to be expected considering this new dead ball era we seem to be in. Unless you’re Aaron Judge or Yordan Alvarez, power numbers across the board seem to be down for everyone. Despite the dead ball, Othani still has a .841 OPS and a 136 OPS+. He’s quickly going to cruise to another 30-home run season in 2022.
The most significant improvement Ohtani has made as a player lies in what he’s been able to do on the mound. In terms of pure stuff and overall production, Ohtani is at worst a top 15 pitcher and at best a top 5 pitcher. If you took the bat out of his hands, he’d still provide tremendous value with what he’s doing on the mound. His ERA currently sits at 2.38, almost a run lower than the 3.18 ERA he put up on the mound last season. His WHIP is well below one, and his strikeout rate is 12.7, one of the best in all baseball.
I said on Twitter last night that despite the incredible years we are seeing by guys like Judge and Alvarez, the MVP should be Othani’s for the taking once again. People generally agreed with me though a few pointed out the possibility of voter fatigue. I think that is so silly. No one should feel fatigued about Shohei Ohtani (unless, of course, you’re one of those crazy people like me who has to stay up until 1:30 AM on the east coast to watch his starts. That kind of fatigue is understandable.) But we shouldn’t shun greatness. And I understand the frustration with the team he plays for. I share that frustration. I wrote a whole blog earlier this season about how bad the Angels are. As a team, I could do without their ineptitude, but as an individual, you have to sit back and enjoy the greatness than is Ohtani. We are witnessing history every night.