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Is Shohei Ohtani the Best Player in Baseball?

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ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 13: Pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks to the dugout after being taken out of the game in the seventh inning during the MLB game against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium on May 13, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 13: Pitcher Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks to the dugout after being taken out of the game in the seventh inning during the MLB game against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium on May 13, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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While everyone was celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, Shohei Ohtani was busy making a statement. A statement so profound, some are beginning to ask a question no one saw coming.

“[Shohei Ohtani] is probably the best player in the world”.

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Let it sink in.

That is not my opinion, it is not a sports analyst’s opinion. It is the opinion of Logan Morrison, first baseman for the Minnesota Twins. The same team who just saw Ohtani put together one of his best performances to date. On Sunday, Ohtani struck out 11 Twins and allowed only one run.

This shut down performance caused multiple Twins to praise Ohtani’s efforts, but Morrison went so far to call Ohtani the best in the world, even while mentioning Mike Trout. He pointed out that Ohtani’s two-way play makes him the best overall player on this planet.

So is he?

First off, what Ohtani is doing is simply amazing. No one has done this with so much success in nearly a century. First, let’s look at where Ohtani ranks in the MLB (Ohtani doesn’t have enough plate appearances to officially register for MLB rankings, so all batting rankings should be considered respectively).

At the plate, Ohtani has been one of the best hitters in the game. His .348 batting average would rank fourth in the league, behind only Odubel Herrera and two MVP-candidates in Mookie Betts and Manny Machado. His 13.8 at-bats per home run would be tied for 17th in the league woth Francisco Lindor, just behind reigning Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge.

One of the most impressive stats of Ohtani’s at the plate is that he is 7-7 with two outs and runners in scoring position. In those situations, Ohtani has two doubles, a triple, and two home runs while driving in 11 RBI’s. Ohtani has the clutch gene, and has been one of the best hitters in the game in 2018.

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On the mound, Ohtani has flashed the ability that made every MLB team fighting for his services. So far into his career, Ohtani has a 3.58 ERA. While that is not ace-level, he has shown he can dominate games. In his past two starts, Ohtani has pitched 12 innings and allowed only two runs (1.50 ERA). In fact, he compares favorably to one of the best pitchers in the MLB so far.

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Overall, Ohtani has been worth around $7.7 million so far this season, per FanGraphs. He is getting paid $545,000 this year. Maybe he is not the best player in baseball yet, but he is the most valuable.

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