Shohei Ohtani authoring incredible encore to MVP season

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports activities MLB Analyst

In 2021, Shohei Ohtani put collectively maybe the best all-around season in baseball historical past, changing into the unanimous winner of the American League MVP Award.

What sort of encore are you able to produce to such a virtuoso efficiency?

Properly, with out as a lot fanfare, and regardless of not fairly being on tempo with final 12 months’s offensive numbers, Ohtani is presently composing a 2022 marketing campaign that also ranks excessive on the checklist of the very best seasons we have ever seen.

Shohei Ohtani Information: “Shotime” in Seattle

Shohei Ohtani News: "Shotime" in Seattle

Ben Verlander breaks down all issues Shohei Ohtani, together with the phenom’s unimaginable efficiency in entrance of his idol, Ichiro.

Maybe, the Angels’ two-way phenom is placing collectively the second-best season we’ve ever seen — behind solely his MVP 12 months that redefined the numbers we contemplate attainable for a single participant. 

On Tuesday evening in Anaheim, the superhuman talents of Ohtani had been on full show.

Within the backside of the sixth inning of a slugfest towards the Royals, Ohtani hit a no-doubt, three-run homer that pulled the Angels to inside two runs.

Then he got here up within the backside of the ninth, with L.A. down three and two males on board, the stage completely set for him to do one thing particular. 

Which, after all, he did.

On a 2-2 rely, Ohtani blasted a three-run shot into the evening, tying the sport. He stood and admired the blast to proper subject for dramatic impact.

Though the Angels went to lose the sport 12-11 in 11 innings, Ohtani ended the night 3-for-4 with two homers and eight RBIs.

As standard, the efficiency despatched our FOX Sports activities analysis group to the document books to contextualize stats which have both hardly ever been seen earlier than or by no means been performed by anybody to ever play the sport. 

Ohtani grew to become the primary Angels participant with eight or extra RBIs in a sport since Garret Anderson in 2007 (when he had 10 in a sport, which is the all-time franchise document). 

He grew to become the primary Japanese-born participant to ever attain the eight-RBI mark in a sport. 

He’s additionally one in every of solely 4 gamers this season with 4 or extra multi-home run video games, in addition to one in every of solely 4 gamers to have a number of video games of 5 or extra RBIs. 

It was a magical evening for Ohtani, and I watched it in awe. 

As I’ve written earlier than, we’re within the midst of watching the modern-day Babe Ruth. There isn’t any higher technique to describe it than that. 

Do not let Ohtani’s historic 2021 season shade your appreciation for what he is doing in 2022. It’s simple to get caught up evaluating gamers to their greatest seasons and be much less impressed after they don’t attain the identical numbers.

LeBron James and Mike Trout, two all-time greats who additionally name L.A. house, are each examples of that. You may make an excellent argument for these two being the MVP most each season they’re wholesome. Alas, the award is given to others as a result of the truth that Trout and James may decline from their MVP years. 

It could possibly be simple to have that very same philosophy with Ohtani. Don’t let it occur.

And remember the fact that Ohtani is on tempo to have the next common and extra RBIs in 2022, whereas additionally hitting nearly 40 house runs. 

Past these stellar numbers on the plate, Ohtani continues to be a very good pitcher, posting a 2.90 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 68.1 innings on the mound. 

I believe John Smoltz put it greatest a couple of weeks in the past on my “Flippin’ Bats” podcast: “If he had been only a pitcher, he’s Jacob deGrom.”

And, oh yeah, that unimaginable efficiency Tuesday got here the evening earlier than a sport by which he tossed eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball with one stroll whereas fanning a career-high 13 batters and reaching safely thrice. 


Shohei Ohtani is actually unbelievable in each sense of the phrase.

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Previous Dominion College earlier than he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round decide of the Tigers in 2013. He spent 5 years within the Tigers group. Comply with him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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