Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani launched his fifth home run of the season in a 7-4 loss against the Rangers on Wednesday. More importantly, the homer marked the 100th for Ohtani as a professional ballplayer between his time in Japan’s Nippon Professional League (NPB) and Major League Baseball.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani reached another milestone in his professional career.
In five NPB seasons, Ohtani launched 48 home runs across 403 games since turning pro at age 18. Now 26-years old, Ohtani has hit 52 home runs through 281 games during his five seasons in Anaheim.
"“Both first homers (in Japan and the U.S.) are memorable. They’re both special,” Ohtani said when asked which career home run stands out the most."
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Of the 72 Japanese-born players to have made at least one plate appearance at the MLB level, Ohtani currently ranks third all-time with his 52 homers. The two players ahead of him are Ichiro Suzuki (117 HR-2nd) and Hideki Matsui (175 HR-1st). That’s some pretty great company to be in, and if he’s not already there, Ohtani is quickly rising to their levels of stardom with his historic performances at the plate and on the mound.
Ohtani is currently among MLB’s best from traditional statistics and advanced metrics. In 62 plate appearances, Ohtani is slashing .310/.355/.690 with five home runs and 13 RBI. According to Statcast, no player has a higher barrel percentage than Ohtani (27.5%). He also ranks 11th with a 119 wRC+ among all MLB players.
On the mound, he owns a 1.04 ERA and 14.5 K/9 in 8.2 innings pitched this season. His command needs some work (11.4 BB/9), but you have to remember this is a pitcher who’s made just four combined starts since 2018. Coming off Tommy John surgery and an elbow injury, the most important thing is for him to get back to being comfortable and the rest will eventually follow.
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If he can make around 10 productive starts and continue his current offensive pace, I think Ohtani is a sure bet to claim the AL MVP award.