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Shohei Ohtani

Legendary LA Angel includes Mike Trout, snubs Shohei Ohtani in 'most talented' list

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Sep 23, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17)
Sep 23, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Recently, Twitter user 'dwcrooks' asked all-time great LA Angel Rod Carew who the most talented hitter currently on an MLB roster is.

The great Carew listed five players, including the LA Angels' own Mike Trout.

And Trout absolutely should be on the list. There are only a few hitters in MLB HISTORY that have been more talented than the three-time AL MVP. Trout is a career .305/.419/.583 (1.002 OPS) hitter who has averaged 39 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 122 runs per 162 games.

With all due respect to the amazing Carew, there's another Angel who should have been on the list too, however, and that's the player who just had the greatest season in sports history. Carew asked who he was missing, and the most obvious one he's missing is the 2021 unanimous AL MVP. Xander Bogaerts and Luis Arraez aren't in the same galaxy as Ohtani right now.

Shohei Ohtani is far and away one of the most talented hitters on an MLB roster.

First, let's compare statistics between LA Angels' superstar DH Shohei Ohtani and the rest of the players he picked over him, except for Trout and Bryce Harper who absolutely ARE on Ohtani's level in this discussion. And Buxton is on a similar wavelength as well when it comes to pure TALENT, which was indeed the question. Therefore, I understand Buxton being on Rod Carew's list too.


First, let's start with Arraez. On the left and bolded is Ohtani's 2021 numbers compared to Arraez's 2021 numbers on the right:

.257 Batting Average----------.294 Batting Average

.372 On Base Percentage----------.357 On Base Percentage

.592 Slugging Percentage----------.376 Slugging Percentage

.965 OPS----------.733 OPS

46 Home Runs----------2 Home Runs

100 RBIs----------42 RBIs

103 Runs----------58 Runs

158 OPS+----------105 OPS+

26 Doubles----------17 Doubles

8 Triples----------6 Triples

152 wRC+----------103 wRC+

So, I'm a little bit confused where Carew is coming from. Ohtani's production at the plate puts Arraez's to shame, although Arraez is clearly not a bad hitter. And I'm not sure how Arraez has more talent than Ohtani when that talent is clearly not getting the job done at anywhere close to the level Ohtani's talent is showing off.

I'd buy it if Ohtani wasn't the most talented, but productive. That's not the case, however. Very few have more powerful swings that Ohtani, and Arraez is not remotely close to even being close to making that shortlist.

We're talking about a guy who literally hit a home run through the roof before.

With all due respect to Arraez, I don't think he can do that. Again, we're talking about a guy who's hands are so good at the plate that he can be 100% on his front foot, and still smoke a ball over the GREEN MONSTER in Fenway Park. Watch and remember this home run, where Ohtani didn't keep his lower half back, but has such talented hands in the box that he was able to keep his hands back and knock a ball over the Monster where he wasn't even using his legs:

It's hard to hit a curveball down in the zone like that for a home run in general, but Ohtani did it OVER THE MONSTER, and on a swing that Ohtani would want back. That screams talent to me. Nothing against Arraez, but he doesn't do that.

I would think that Carew maybe was just showing love to a fellow Minnesota Twin, but he had already chose as many Twins as Angels when it came to the rest of this list. I get a little surprised when I think of Bogaerts making the list instead of Ohtani as well.

Let me give a stats breakdown again. On the left and bolded are ShoTime's 2021 stats, and on the right are Bogaert's.

.257 Batting Average----------.295 Batting Average

.372 On Base Percentage----------.370 On Base Percentage

.592 Slugging Percentage----------.493 Slugging Percentage

.965 OPS----------.863 OPS

46 Home Runs----------23 Home Runs

100 RBIs----------79 RBIs

103 Runs----------90 Runs

158 OPS+----------127 OPS+

26 Doubles----------34 Doubles

8 Triples----------1 Triple

152 wRC+----------130 wRC+

Again, Ohtani is a far better hitter than Bogaerts. And while we need to remember that production doesn't always correlate perfectly to sheer talent, I'd still take Ohtani's talent over Bogaerts' any day of the week.

I think anyone who's not a Red Sox fan would, too. Well, I know they would. That's why I was surprised to hear this from Carew.

Ohtani's swing is so much stronger than Bogaerts. Not only do his numbers (and particularly power numbers) tower over Bogaerts, but Ohtani also hit the hardest ball ever recorded off of a left-handed pitcher this season. He achieved that spot in the record books when he hit a 119 mile per hour double this past April.

So not only can Ohtani poke a low curveball over Bogaerts' team's Green Monster just by simply touching the ball with his bat while delivering an unbalanced swing, he can not only dominate Bogaerts and Arraez in terms of how much they produce, but he also can hit a ball harder than anyone EVER has off of a left-handed pitcher.

And let's also not forget that Ohtani did all of this with absolutely no lineup protection. Trout went down for the year in mid-May, Anthony Rendon wasn't healthy and went down for the year early, and it was the same story with Justin Upton. Those are the three highest contracts on the team.

Bogaerts certainly had quite a bit of lineup protection on a team that was third in the Majors in batting average (.267), third in OPS (.777), and second in slugging percentage (.449). The Angels ranked 10th (.245), T-15th (.407) and 19th (.717), respectively. The lineup protection was so minimal for Ohtani that teams started walking him more than they walked prime Barry Bonds:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but teams aren't afraid of Bogaerts like that, or anyone.

But I want to make it clear that I'm not criticizing Carew on a personal level at all. I am a HUGE fan of Carew's, and love what he brought to the game as well as my Angels. I simply believe that a 6'4", 210 pound monster who has an exponentially more powerful swing, better hands, and exponentially better statistics than Bogaerts and Arraez is a more talented hitter than the two of them.

Next. 5 huge pitching names listed as best fits for Angels by ex-GM. dark

After all, the greatest conversations always arise from differing opinions, and I'd also like to shout out Carew once again for including Trout. The eight-time Silver Slugger is someone everyone on the planet can get behind. I believe everyone can get behind Ohtani as well, as I have never heard players of this caliber be ranked ahead of Ohtani when it comes to talent before.

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