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Shohei Ohtani authoring incredible encore to MVP season

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports 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 type of encore are you able to produce to such a virtuoso efficiency?

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

Shohei Ohtani News: “Shotime” in Seattle

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

Perhaps, 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 take into account attainable for a single participant. 

On Tuesday night time in Anaheim, the superhuman skills of Ohtani had been on full show.

In the underside of the sixth inning of a slugfest against 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 depend, Ohtani blasted a three-run shot into the night time, tying the sport. He stood and admired the blast to proper area for dramatic impact.

Although 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 ordinary, the efficiency despatched our FOX Sports analysis group to the file books to contextualize stats which have both hardly ever been seen earlier than or by no means been completed by anybody to ever play the sport. 

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

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

He can be one in all solely 4 gamers this season with 4 or extra multi-home run video games, in addition to one in all solely 4 gamers to have a number of video games of 5 or extra RBIs. 

It was a magical night time 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 method to describe it than that. 

Don’t 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 finest 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 could make an excellent argument for these two being the MVP most each season they’re wholesome. Alas, the award is given to others due to the truth that Trout and James would possibly decline from their MVP years. 

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

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

Beyond 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 feel John Smoltz put it finest just a few weeks in the past on my “Flippin’ Bats” podcast: “If he had been only a pitcher, he’s Jacob deGrom.”

And, oh yeah, that incredible efficiency Tuesday got here the night time earlier than a recreation through 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 and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University 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. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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