Going where no man has gone before… The Half a Billion Dollar Man
The home run and RBI leader strikes out the fourth-most batters in the league as a pitcher. Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels of America is taking the big leagues by storm with his cartoonish performance. He’s within striking distance of his second Most Valuable Player (MVP) award since coming to the U.S. and his first $500 million contract.
Ohtani’s two-hitting “Idoryu” has been the talk of the baseball world since his arrival in the 2018 season. He made waves in his first year with 22 home runs and a sub-3 ERA, even though he didn’t get much playing time. In 2021, he hit 46 home runs and won nine games on the mound to win the MVP award of his dreams.안전놀이터
The evolution continued. Last year, he exploded as a pitcher. He won his first 10 games in the United States (15-9) with a sub-2 ERA. At the plate, he was fourth in home runs and seventh in RBIs. He lost the American League (AL) MVP award to New York Yankees Aaron Judge, who had a historic 60-homer season, but it was a solid year.
The only thing missing was a title. I won Rookie of the Year and MVP, but I didn’t finish first in any of the major categories. Some thought it was a sign of his inability to focus on both pitching and hitting.
This season, Ohtani has defied that myth. We’re not even at the halfway point yet, and he’s on pace to hit a career-high .300 with 23 home runs and 56 RBIs through Aug. 18. His batting average ranks sixth in the American League and his home runs and RBIs lead both leagues. As a pitcher, he’s fourth in the league with 105 strikeouts.
He’s been especially hot lately. In the top of the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, Ohtani took a changeup from opposing pitcher Taylor Clark and hit a solo shot over the center field fence. It was the 150th home run of his big league career and moved him past the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso into the major league home run lead.
The celebration capped off a monster stretch in which Ohtani has hit five home runs in his last six games. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games. After hitting just .243 in May, he has rebounded with a .410 monthly average.
If he keeps up the momentum, Ohtani will literally have a historic season. The math works out to 50 homers and 10 wins in a season. Barring an injury, the AL MVP is a virtual lock.
His price tag is bound to skyrocket. Ohtani is eligible for free agency this winter. With his unrivaled skill set and star power, it’s not hard to imagine him becoming the first player in major league history to sign a $500 million contract.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Hyun-jin Ryu, who is rehabbing from elbow surgery, is accelerating his return to action, with the All-Star break as his target. Recently, he reportedly threw a full inning of live pitching for the first time in nearly a year.