We may never run out of ways to show that Shohei Ohtani is special, but Friday’s performance provides plenty on its own.
The Los Angeles Angels phenom entered Friday already on a tear, having won AL Player of the Month for a month of June in which he hit .309/.423/.889. He already held the MLB lead in home runs with 28. He was already making history.
And then he hit his 29th homer of the season to break Mike Trout’s Angels records for most home runs before the All-Star break.
And then he hit his 30th homer of the season one plate appearance later.
So Ohtani has now 30 home runs before the All-Star break, while still working a full load as a starting pitcher. It almost feels redundant to say we have never seen anything like this before in modern baseball.
In fact, we haven’t seen a combination of power and pitching like this at all, as Babe Ruth, literally the only useful historical precedent for Ohtani at this point, never reached the 30-home run mark when he was working consistently as a pitcher. The most home runs Ruth ever hit in a season in which he started more than one game as a pitcher was 29 in 1919, his final year with the Boston Red Sox.
We also haven’t seen a combination of power and speed this early, at least in the American league. Ohtani’s combination of 30 home runs and 11 stolen bases puts him in a club occupied only by Sammy Sosa and Albert Pujols.
It feels so unfair to remember that, in addition to everything, Ohtani also has elite speed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds.
So in conclusion, we have never seen a player with Ohtani’s combination of power and pitching this year, and we have only a few times seen his combination of power and speed as well. He is currently hitting .281/.363/.707 with 57 runs and 66 RBIs. And pitching a 3.60 ERA in 60 innings with 83 strikeouts.
Basically, he’s the first legitimate 10-tool player in baseball history (as well the AL MVP favorite right now). And he may only be getting started.
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