The 2023 season was a disastrous one for the Los Angeles Angels. They tried to win now and push for a playoff spot by trading some of the team's best prospects at the deadline and even dipping into the luxury tax for a brief period but wound up finishing with the same 73-89 record as they did in 2022.
While the season was an utter failure, there were some positives that came out of it. Some of the Angels rookies showed a ton of promise. Mickey Moniak broke out and is a future piece for the Angels. Luis Rengifo looked like a star for a two-month period.
These positives are great, but the brightest light of all, of course, came from Shohei Ohtani who once again proved that he's the best player we've ever seen. Watching Shohei Ohtani play was one of the only reasons this team was worth paying attention to. He had a season to remember in 2023.
Shohei Ohtani deserves an A+ grade for his 2023 season
Shohei Ohtani's 2023 season will be remembered for a long time. He's done this two-way thing for a long time, but the season he just had was the best one of all. Yes, that includes his MVP season in 2021 and his ridiculous 2022 as well.
Let's start at the plate. Ohtani slashed .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs and 95 RBI. He added 26 doubles, eight triples, and 20 stolen bases as well. Despite missing the last month of the season, Ohtani led the league in home runs, OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. He was an all-star and undoubtedly the best hitter in the American League, if not all of baseball.
Ohtani's 44 home runs were just three shy of tying the team's club record set by Troy Glaus. Again, this happened despite Ohtani missing substantial time at the end of his season. It also happened with Ohtani largely hitting by himself thanks to the ridiculous injuries this team dealt with. Ohtani's offensive season was good enough to win MVP on its own, but he pitches too!
His season on the mound wasn't nearly as good as he was at the plate. It felt like Ohtani was extremely inconsistent at times, and really struggled with his command too. Despite what was clearly a down year on the mound, Ohtani still put up a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts and 132 innings pitched. He struck out 11.4 batters per nine in those starts, and held the opposition to a .184 batting average. He wasn't quite the Cy Young-caliber pitcher he was in 2022, but he was still very good.
Ohtani not pitching in 2024 is a huge blow to whatever team signed him, but his job on the mound and at the plate in 2023 was one Angels fans will remember for a long time. It truly was one of the best seasons we'll ever see, and will result in Ohtani winning his second AL MVP award in the last three seasons.