Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher and designated hitter, is making history this season on the field.
This week, he became the first Angels player to hit 40 home runs and steal 20 bases in a single season.
He is the first 40 homer–20 steal American League (AL) player since 2011. He is the third AL player to be able to achieve this feat by September.
Per MLB.com, Ohtani is the first Japanese-born player to do this in a season.
According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Shohei has a case for the “greatest season ever.”
With these stats, it’s not hard to see why.
Ohtani has compiled a 3.00 ERA (Earned Run Average), and with his stats, he is on the hunt for 2021 AL MVP – and arguably the favorite.
Can He Really Do it All?
On the field, Shohei Ohtani can do it all. He has mastered the fastball – and all the elements of a perfect swing. He hits with ultimate speed and incredible power.
When pitching, Ohtani has command of the fastball.
Along with his stellar pitching and hitting work, he has stellar speed, which he uses to steal bases.
Off the field, though, can Ohtani help bring a new generation of fans to the game? Statista data shows that just 14% of those ages 18-34 consider themselves “avid” baseball fans. More alarmingly for the MLB, 51% are “not a fan” at all.
Ohtani is already drawing comparisons to Babe Ruth, perhaps the game’s most transcendent player ever.
As of last weekend, the Angels sat in 17th place in average attendance. Meanwhile, their crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers are drawing the most fans of any MLB team. The Dodgers sit at second place in the NL West, just behind the suddenly red-hot San Francisco Giants. The Angels, though, find themselves in fourth in the AL West.
Ohtani – and superstar counterpart Mike Trout – haven’t been enough to turn the Angels’ fortunes around. But baseball executives – and fans – surely hope Ohtani can help turn baseball fandom around for a younger generation.
Bringing America’s youngest fans back to America’s pastime is a tall task, but so is being one of the best pitchers and hitters in the game. And Ohtani has already tackled that.
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