Why Shohei Ohtani's 2022 season has been more impressive than his 2021 MVP season

Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels
Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Shohei Ohtani was the unanimous AL MVP; collecting 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 103 runs for the LA Angels. He also won nine games (only lost two) on the mound for the team while striking out 156 and boasting a 3.18 ERA. After that, however, he was hit with adversity.

The MLB lockout hit, which permitted him from being able to workout with his team during the two-plus month lockout. That lockout also resulted in a shortened spring training, of course.

The most important part of being a two-way player is staying within the player's routine to make sure the athlete can stay both healthy during the season AND in shape. The lack of opportunities to work with his team to keep him in condition put ShoTime at risk for serious regression.

It's why it's even more impressive to see Shohei Ohtani doing what he's doing with the Angels than what he did last year.

Shohei Ohtani has responded to that adversity by staying healthy through the first 44 games of the season so far for the LA Angels, and looking just as good. As a pitcher, he's recorded a 2.82 ERA, recorded three wins (only two losses), and struck out 53. As a hitter, he's hit nine bombs, driven in 28 RBIs, and scored 30 by himself.

That means he's on pace for 11 wins on the bump by season's end and 195 strikeouts. He's unquestionably much improved as a pitcher. In addition, he's also on pace to smack 33 home runs, drive in 103 runs, and score 110 on the offensive side of the game. Those RBI and run totals are also improvements over last year.

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To continue dominating at the level he has this year--not skipping a beat from where he was last year--despite the events that went on in the offseason is not easy. It's also important to not forget that he's doing this after needing Tommy John surgery in 2018. Nobody can fight through adversity the way Ohtani can. Ohtani looks about the same overall from where he was last season, but given the context and circumstances he's had to deal with; his play has been even more impressive than what he showed last year.