Shohei Ohtani is putting up MVP numbers at the dish – he leads the majors with 28 homers, is second with a .688 slugging, and third with a 1.049 OPS.
Oh, and he has a 2.58 ERA with a 12.4 K/9 and 1.18 WHIP.
Baseball hasn’t seen something like this since 1919, when Babe Ruth blasted 29 home runs with a 1.114 OPS, and also had a 2.97 ERA on the mound. That was in 130 games offensively, and 17 appearances on the bump (15 starts). Ohtani has played just 74 games and is on pace for 24 starts.
Before that, Ruth never had more than 382 plate appearances – after that, he pitched just five more games for the rest of his career.
“All the things we’re hearing – the once in a lifetime, the once in a generation type talent, I don’t think that’s hyperbole at all,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
tt’s hard enough to get to the big leagues and be successful in one aspect – let alone two.
“I think to get to this level as a position player takes a really special talent and skillset and commitment and practice, and the same can be said for a pitcher and all that goes into that. And not only getting to this level, but succeeding at a high level here, that’s the smallest of percentages,” Boone said. “But I think when you look at him overall as an athlete, it’s just really dynamic. The bat speed, the torque, the kinetic chain that he has in the batter’s box and what he’s able to create, and then go do it on the mound, we haven’t seen it, because obviously it’s incredibly difficult and borderline impossible. That’s why I think the baseball world is talking about him as much as they are.”
Ohtani will get the ball against the Yankees on Wednesday and will be in the lineup as well – he already has three home runs in the first two games of this series.
“I think across the board, it’s really good stuff. It’s no accident that he’s putting up really numbers on the pitching side. We gotta make sure we’re the controlling zone on him a little bit. He has walked some guys, but the stuff is electric. … think guys are looking forward to challenge but know that it’s a challenge.”