And it's going to be pretty hard to do that. It's already hard enough to hit in 155 games, start pitching in 23, and field in seven. Hitting 46 home runs, driving in 100 runs, and scoring 103 makes it even harder.
Striking out 156 hitters makes it pretty hard as well, and keep in mind that he also kept hitters at 98 hits all year. Did I mention that he also stole 26 bases? Well, he did, and one time he even stole home.
Gubicza, however, believes Ohtani will repeat, and will also do even more than just that.
Mark Gubicza believes LA Angels two-way superstar, Shohei Ohtani, will be even better in 2022 than he was in 2021.
Mark Gubicza sees the LA Angels Ace and dominant DH in Shohei Ohtani performing even better than he did in 2021, due to how much this past year will serve as constructive experience for the elite SP/DH:
"Well, I think he’ll be better. Because he never did this before; he never played that much as far as pitching AND hitting over in Japan. And so this is the first time he did it. And so now he knows exactly what it takes as far as his physical side and even the mental side–because that’s where you get worn down in a baseball season. It’s the mental part too along with the physical part"- Mark Gubicza, LA Angels
Look, it's near impossible to have a better season that what Ohtani just put up last year. I mean, nobody's ever done it. That being said, Ohtani now knows his body so much better and so does Joe Maddon.
Before the season, the concern from many was that Ohtani was being 'babied.' All in all, we had no clue as to whether he would ever be able to be managed to where we could use his elite talents as BOTH a hitter and pitcher.
Now that he knows just how far he can go, and has the blueprint to how much work he can take and how well he can play if he hits that threshold, the sky continues to be the limit for Ohtani. Yes, bodies naturally wear down over time, but Ohtani is still just 27 years old, and sometimes the grind helps players stay in shape.
This grind also keeps Ohtani at his best. Many within the Angels organization have revealed that they believe Ohtani playing both positions helps him mentally stay balanced in his approach to the game and be in a better head space to perform to the best of his ability.
And it was also proven this past year. In 2019 and 2020 when he pitched just 1.2 innings, he hit .259/.328/.466 (.793 OPS) with 25 home runs in 150 games. In 2021, when he pitched a career-high 130.1 innings, he hit .257/.372/.592 (.965 OPS) while hitting 46 home runs in 155 games.
While sustaining this workload is taxing on the body, it actually helps his performance. I'm not guaranteeing that he'll be better next year, but after speaking with Gubicza, I realize that there's a legit opportunity for that to happen.