Shohei Ohtani is the Unquestioned MVP of the First Half in the American League by Andres Chavez
Shohei Ohtani has taken over Major League Baseball and is doing remarkable things with his fantastic performance on the mound and in the batter's box.
Toronto Blue Jays' slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally had his long-awaited breakout. With a .341 batting average, 28 home runs, and 73 RBI, he has a chance to win the historic Triple Crown, something last achieved by peak Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Yet he won't stand a chance in the MVP conversation in the American League if a specific player in Los Angeles keeps his own torrid pace.
Shohei Ohtani has taken over Major League Baseball and is doing remarkable things with his fantastic performance on the mound and in the batter's box. The only fair comparison to Ohtani is Babe Ruth, and the latter played in a very different era. Today's game is much more developed and challenging, with freak athletes with all the tools and resources to improve their game daily.
Only Ruth was as dominant on the mound and at the plate as Ohtani in the game's history. The Los Angeles Angels phenom is rocking a fine 3.49 ERA in 67 innings as a pitcher. He has been the teams ace, striking out 11.69 hitters per nine innings, touching triple digits in the radar gun with his fastball, and missing bats with a disgusting splitter that looks impossible to hit.
As a hitter, Ohtani leads the league with 32 home runs and has a mind-blowing .279/.364/.700 line. Imagine having Lucas Giolito and Nelson Cruz on your team. Ok, now imagine having them but occupying only one roster spot, merged in a single player. Impressive, huh? Ohtani has been the Angels' best pitcher and their best hitter, too.
What Ohtani is doing is awfully impressive and truly unique. Most hitters devote an entire lifetime crafting the art of batting, making adjustments to hit nasty breaking balls, and training to catch up to 100-mph fastballs up in the letters. The pitcher also dedicates their lives to throwing the ball as hard as possible in the strike zone with pinpoint command while developing one or more breaking pitches to keep hitters honest. According to the Angels' hitting coach, this guy is doing both, belting homer after homer without even taking batting practice.
So far, Shohei Ohtani is the unquestioned MVP of the first half of the season. What Guerrero Jr. is doing is impressive, but every comparison ends when we measure his ability to pitch, which is non-existent. Ohtani is genuinely the most exciting player in baseball, and we will get the chance to see him in the Home Run Derby and at the All-Star game, an event in which he was voted in as both a hitter and a pitcher.
We don't need more numbers to know who the Most Valuable Player in 2021 has been. Ohtani is an ace and a top slugger in one player, and that's so hard that no other player in the major leagues right now is doing both things at the same time. Baseball fans are lucky to witness Shohei Ohtani's era.