LA Angels: Why Shohei Ohtani is in the midst of a Cy Young caliber season

Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

Shohei Ohtani is going to bring home another AL MVP for our LA Angels.

It will be our fourth in the last eight years, which is pretty spectacular if you ask me.

Something we haven’t seen in 16 years, however, is an AL Cy Young award. Believe it or not; Ohtani has the chance to bring that home as well this season. I don’t think he’ll get it, but he’s certainly in the conversation.

LA Angels’ Ace Shohei Ohtani has the seventh-best ERA in the AL among starters with at least 23 starts.

While seventh-best isn’t exactly what we’re looking for in a Cy Young-award winner, it’s worth noting how Shohei Ohtani is doing it.

His 3.18 ERA is what it is while he’s also hitting in the games he’s pitching in. No other American League pitcher hits in their starts (other than rare interleague matchups). When it comes to his true performance, Ohtani is better than that 3.18 ERA. He has a harder job than the rest of these pitchers, and still has a great mark there.

It’s similar to how Ohtani is top five in K/9 out of starters with at least 23 starts, despite sacrificing his legs for offense during his starts. If Ohtani didn’t have to hit for his team while he pitches, these numbers would be even better.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like the voters will see it this way. Ohtani is clearly the more valuable pitcher, however, because while he isn’t putting up the best of the best numbers, he’s putting up great ones while being more valuable to his team through his offense during these games.

I’d rather have Ohtani on the mound than almost every single pitcher in the AL due to that overall value that comes with him. Now, if Ohtani pitches another gem in his final outing this weekend, I just may officially rather have him on the mound over every single pitcher in the AL.

He’s allowing just a .205 batting average against him, and has a 1.09 WHIP. Those are typically numbers of Cy Young contenders. Yes, there are pitchers with better numbers than him in the AL, but again, they aren’t being taxed with as much of a workload during the games.

One thing that may offset some of this is the fact that Ohtani has only started 23 games, and each starter in the league hopes to throw 30 per year. Ohtani obviously won’t get there.

I’ll also add, however, that this makes it tougher for Ohtani to continue his momentum in a normal routine. Other starters in this league are able to stick to a more normal schedule, which is a challenge for Ohtani.

While I think it’s important for Ohtani to start more than 23 games by this point in the season, I don’t think it should count against him too much.

The facts of the matter are that him being a full-time hitter puts more stress and fatigue on his body that these other pitchers don’t have. It makes what he’s doing so much more impressive.

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I’m not calling for him to literally be named the AL Cy Young, but he needs to be in the discussion. If he shoves again this week, then he’s even proven that he deserves to be in the conversation without even needing to think about the factor of him having to hit in the games he’s pitching in.