Nutshell: Shohei Ohtani is the Best Ever
No one's ever done what Shohei does. Not even the Babe.
Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. Being a good pitcher is also very hard. This is why it's incredibly rare to see someone doing this in the Major Leagues. If a kid is doing both in college and is fortunate enough to make it to the minor leagues, he is typically pushed to either focus on becoming a position player/hitter or a pitcher, not both. Back in the day, there were two-way guys on the reg, but the game was a lot different than it is today.
Enter Shohei Ohtani, the best overall player in the history of the Show. The man drops nukes at the plate and pumps gas on the bump. 100 MPH heaters and max exit velocity of 119 MPH - wow! It's truly amazing that someone can be so good at hitting and pitching at the highest level of baseball.
After the Angels dropped the "Ohtani Rules" for the season, the 2021 AL MVP hit milestone after milestone. Just a quick recap of his season at the plate: (Thanks, Wikipedia). Ohtani finished third in home runs (46), fourth in slugging percentage (.592), fifth in OPS (.965), first in triples (8), fifth in walks (96), second in extra base hits (80), second in intentional walks (20), fifth in OPS+ (158), and first in power-speed number (33.2). Ridiculous stats for any hitter...he also swiped 26 stolen bags, good for eighth in the league. So he hits the shit out of the ball and can run...
On the mound he finished 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in over 130 innings pitched...with 156 strikeouts! He was also 6-0 at home. His splitter was the most unhittable pitch in baseball this season. The stupid thing just falls out of the bottom of the zone and produced a .087 opposing batting average, good for the lowest in MLB. Batters must love seeing, on average, a 97 MPH fastball, followed by a 90 MPH split.
Ohtani is the first player to be in an All-Star game as a hitter and a pitcher. Most players never make it into the All-Star game and he's doing it on both sides of the ball. It's truly unbelievable. Sho-time also led the league with a wins above replacement (WAR) value with 9.1. Basically, we witnessed the greatest single season by a baseball player overall...ever.
The Very Best
Back to my claim of Shohei being the greatest player ever...A lot of people might say Babe Ruth is the greatest of all time. There is no question he is a legend of the game and the best to play during his era. But that's where it ends. Those guys SUCK compared to the players of today. They couldn't hack it. David Justice probably feels the same way. (I know the game of baseball, and all sports for that matter, build on past generations). Statistically and from the eye-test, Shohei is amazing, and is doing special things at the pinnacle of MLB. That is why I think he is the best overall player to ever step foot on the diamond. No way the Babe is doing that today.
He's a freak of nature. Enjoy this.