Shohei Ohtani quickly made himself a household name due to his elite talent as both a hitter and a pitcher.
The two-way superstar finished top-four in both MVP and Cy Young voting last season and he should bring home his second American League MVP Award this year.
New York Times Bestselling Author and national baseball writer Tyler Kepner was a guest on “The Bret Boone Podcast” and explained why Ohtani is such a special player.
“He’s the best story in baseball. It’s really just wild to think about how elite he is on both sides. If he was just a standard major leaguer, a solid everyday starter and starting pitcher, that’d be amazing,” Kepner said (18:55 in player above). “But the fact that he is so great at both is just wild. It’s totally bananas to think that we have a player who is as good as there is as a hitter and as a pitcher at the same time. It’s great to see the Angels finally having some hope of getting to the playoffs. These home runs and everything are in the service of a contender which is really cool.”
Unfortunately, Mike Trout has since gone on the injured list, dampening some of the Angels’ playoff hopes. But if there’s a team and a player that can overcome that, it’s Ohtani and the Angels.
“The month of June for him was ridiculous,” Kepner continued. “He’s must-watch, man. You got to watch when he’s pitching, when he’s hitting. You really never know what you’re going to see.”
In 27 June games, Ohtani slugged 15 home runs while batting .394 with a 1.44 OPS. If he kept up that pace for a full 162-game season, Ohtani would hit nearly 90 home runs.
On the season, he is batting .300 with 31 home runs in 86 games. He’s also 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings. Not too shabby.
“He’s the personification of what we love about sports because he’s doing things that we marvel at and that we never thought possible,” Kepner said. “That’s one of the reasons I watch sports, to see things that I can’t do and that I didn’t know that anybody could do. He’s doing it.”