LA Angels: Will AL MVP race be decided between these 2 Halos?
By Alfonso Cerna
The second-half of the Angels two-headed offensive monster is their two-way phenom, Shohei Ohtani.
Hopefully he can stay healthy, because the things we’ve seen from Ohtani so far on the mound and at the plate are truly remarkable. In his first start of the season, Ohtani threw the league’s hardest pitch and hit the hardest ball in the bottom half of that same inning. A nagging blister injury forced him to miss his last start and the Halos will closely monitor him before deciding when his next outing will be.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani is already established as MLB’s best all-around player.
Luckily, it hasn’t slowed Ohtani down at the plate. The 26-year-old is slashing .340/.380/.745 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 50 plate appearances. Ohtani sits behind Trout for the Angels lead in WAR (0.7) and is 13th in the league with a 207 wRC+.
In advanced statistics, Ohtani retook the mantle for the league’s hardest-hit ball on Monday.
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Like Trout, Ohtani ranks in MLB’s top-10 in the following Statcast categories:
- Barrel %: (26.5-1st)
- Avg. Exit Velo: (94.2-8th)
- xISO: (.430-3rd)
- xwOBA: (.460-6th)
- xSLG: (.754-5th)
There’s a long ways to go, but if Ohtani begins pitching well on a consistent basis and continues the offensive production we’ve seen so far, I think that’d make him an easy MVP favorite.
If any player puts up All-Star numbers as both a pitcher and a hitter, I find it extremely hard to believe there are others who will be considered ‘most valuable’ over Ohtani.
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I’ve mentioned how lethal this Angels offense has been with just Ohtani and Trout. There’s also Jared Walsh (195 wRC+) who’s been playing well and Anthony Rendon who has yet to put up his usual offensive production.
The Angels will need their role players to produce more than we’ve seen thus far, but right now this team has the makings of one of the best lineups in baseball headlined by two early AL MVP candidates.