Last week, Sporting News went ahead and of course ranked Ohtani as the greatest athlete of 2021. It's no surprise as they obviously ranked his season as the best in sports history, but it still goes to show that Ohtani was more than just baseball's shiniest gem of 2021.
Ohtani introduced himself to the ENTIRE world of sports in the '21 season. Jason Foster wrote the article for Sporting News, and he said it best:
"By answer measurable metric, Ohtani's 2021 season was not just historically good, but unprecedented — not just in baseball, but across all sports."- Jason Foster, Sporting News
2021 was a tough year, but Shohei Ohtani was one of the brightest parts of the rough stretch.
Shohei Ohtani lifted up a lot of people in what was a rough year for most in this world. The COVID-19 pandemic is still running rampant around the country and world, but Ohtani gave us a distraction. He dazzled in a year where he hit .257/.372/.592 (.965 OPS) in 155 games and also had a 9-2 record, a 3.18 ERA, and a 1.090 WHIP in 23 starts on the bump.
That slugging percentage was top five in baseball, and so was his 152 wRC+, his 45.1% hard-hit percentage, and his 318 total bases. He led baseball with an 8.1 fWAR.
No athlete had a better season than Ohtani. He did this as a two-way player who's a top ten pitcher and the best offensive player in the league.
And yes, he is the best offensive player in baseball. He put up those numbers while dealing with no lineup protection at all. The three biggest contracts on our team: Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton all went through season-ending injuries.
Ohtani was let out to dry and still put up elite offensive numbers. He also is the fastest baserunner in the American League (his peers even admitted it), which adds to his elite offensive arsenal.
And further proving that he had the best 2021 out of any athlete, he also even played as an outfielder seven times. The workload he took on was insane, and he was special in every facet of the game--literally.
All in all, this is the same guy who started the All-Star Game as both the AL's starting pitcher AND Designated Hitter. Nobody has topped the season Ohtani just put up. There truly was no comparison to the Sho we just witnessed in the last year.