The Renaissance Man, doing something we have not seen in 100-years of baseball.
Shohei Ohtani, MVP candidate, Angels superstar.
Doing things not done in baseball since the early 1900s era of the Great Bambino, Babe Ruth.
Surrounded by a battered roster, with the Angels headed for another non-playoff year, and struggling mightily to stay around the (.500) mark, Ohtani is the only beacon shining aside from the ‘Big A’ scoreboard light in Anaheim.
What a remarkable season for the 27-year old, who bypassed big money when he decided to leave Japan and sign for a low money contract with the Halos, just to get to the major leagues.
And this year, a year removed from the Covid marred season, and two years removed from elbow surgery, Ohtani has taken baseball by storm.
He leads all of MLB in jersey sales, topping the Padres Fernando Tatis and the Blue Jays Vlad Guerrero.
And he is storming into history, the nights he pitches, and all the other nights he is a DH.
His statistics are staggering…serving as the ace of the staff with a once a week start in the rotation. He serves as the Angels DH-virtually every other day.
He heads into the East Coast road trip with (.268) BA…37-home runs…82-RBIs….an OPS (1.015)…(.653) slugging percentage…(.362) on base percentage and 82-extra base hits.
All this from the guy in the order, who does not have Mike Trout to protect him, and with little help from the often injured Justin Upton and Anthony Rendon.
On the mound, equally impressive, that (6-1) record…the (2.93-ERA)…the (108K) …only (36) walks…and an (83%) strike to ball ratio on his pitches. The enemy, hitting just (.190) against Ohtani.
There are only a few 2-sport players in modern day baseball history, who excelled. The greatness of Bo Jackson before injuries ended his career. The dynamics of Deion Sanders for a chunk of time. Back in the 1950’s, 6’8-pitcher Gene Conley of the Braves, also played for the Boston Celtics.
The legend was Babe Ruth, who played right field and pitched for the Yankees in the early days of his career. The Hall of Fame plaque shows Ruth’s (.342) career batting average and his historic (714) home runs.
In a 5-year span (1915-1919) Ruth pitched well for the Yankees. He went (87-45) with a 2.19-ERA, and hit 40-homers in that deadball era.
He became a full time Yankees outfielder and icon starting in 1920-21, hitting 54-59 homers in the first two years after he gave up pitching. From there came the 60-home run seasons and history in 1927.
What Ohtani has done, in the modern era of 162-game schedule grinds, of pitchers who throw 100mph, and a wear and tear factor players of yesteryear could never identify with, is amazing.
Think not just of the physical fatigue from the type of preparation he must do daily to get ready to DH, but then think of the mechanical preparation to to pitch. Add in the sports-medicine angle of what he must do to cope with full health. And then mix in water with the mental fatigue a player has to go thru, and double that, because he is a two position superstar.
Enjoy the seasons while it lasts, but what we have viewed from the superstar Angel is something we may never see again.
Renaissance Man for sure.