Angels outfielder Justin Upton has been around the block and he is saying Shohei Ohtani is the most talented baseball player he has ever seen.
At first glance, the claim being made by Justin Upton might be a wild one, but if you really think long and hard about it, he isn’t crazy. He happens to be teammates with the consensus best player in baseball and someone who has a case for being the best player of all-time in Mike Trout, but that doesn’t change his viewpoint.
Shohei Ohtani is a rare type of player, obviously. Some can even call him a six-tool player. He can hit and hit for power, he can field and run, and he can throw — but he can pitch. The Angels quite possibly have the two most talented players in baseball on their roster. That’s wild.
Not only has Justin Upton played with Mike Trout, he has also played with future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera and even Albert Pujols late in his career. He’s saying this with full confidence based on his experience.
This is what Justin Upton had to say about Shohei Ohtani in comparison to Mike Trout and Mookie Betts:
"“He’s the most talented baseball player I’ve ever seen. That’s because he can do everything. Mike Trout can’t pitch, Mookie Betts can’t pitch. There’s really good baseball players at what they do, but there’s nobody who does everything.”"
Upton absolutely has a point. The only issue is that Ohtani has not really been able to do both simultaneously at a high level outside of his rookie season. He needs to fully regain health before we can put him in this conversation. If someone is a C hitter and a C pitcher, does that make them as good as an A hitter like a Trout or Betts? That’s for you to decide.
Upton also had the following to say about Ohtani’s unique skillset:
"“He’s the fastest guy on our team. He’s got the most pop on our team. He throws the hardest on our team. He’s one of the harder throwers in the league. There’s not anybody else that can do what he does.”"
Ohtani has graded out as an 80th percentile sprint speed runner in the past. He also has posted elite level exit velocity numbers. He also can toss 100 miles per hour on the mound. It’s truly uncanny what he can do. While Upton’s claim might be premature given Ohtani’s inconsistency in Major League Baseball, he has a very real shot to be thoroughly correct about the uber-talented Japanese sensation.