This is in large part due to Shohei Ohtani, who is third in the MLB with 24 home runs. (All stats in this article are as of June 26th.)
Ohtani isn’t leading this league in any of the major power hitting categories, but he’s still the best power hitter in the MLB.
Shohei Ohtani is the best power hitter in the MLB, considering the context of his season.
When a catcher only hits .250 while smacking 30 home runs and 90 RBI, he’s looked at as a superstar in this league (as long as he’s at least average on defense). He’s giving up his legs every day, so to be able to put up those numbers means a ton.
It’s the same thing with Ohtani. I’d like to see Guerrero and Tatis try to hit 24 home runs while starting 11 games on the mound.
Tatis and Guerrero also have a higher slugging percentage than Ohtani’s third place percentage of .643. But how would they fare if they also had to come in and be their team’s ace?
Pitching and hitting at the same time is incredibly hard. It’s one of the biggest reasons why pitchers are so notoriously awful at the plate when they have to hit in lineups.
Ohtani is using a lot of strength on the mound that he can’t rest up and save for his performance at the plate. Pitching takes a ton out of a player’s lower-body strength, and of course takes a toll on a player’s arm.
Ohtani being so close to Tatis and Guerrero in these power hitting categories shows that if he had the luxury of not having to pitch for his club, he’d easily be putting up better power numbers than those two.
Ohtani’s 45.2% hard-hit percentage is 4.1% higher than Guerrero’s. Now, imagine if he wasn’t taking so much power out of his legs to pitch every fifth or six day. He’d be hitting the ball all over the place; even much more than he is now.
Tatis and Guerrero are having heroic seasons, especially when it comes to mashing the baseball. It’s true, however, that Ohtani’s slightly worse power numbers than them would be much greater if he had the chance to focus on hitting.
Instead, he’s been asked to do the impossible, and is still knocking on the door to putting up the best power numbers in baseball.
I’d like to see Tatis and Guerrero put in the work Ohtani does outside of the batter’s box and still hit for that type of power.