Shohei Ohtani creates incredible encore for MVP season

By Ben Verlander
FOX Sports MLB Analyst

In 2021, Shohei Ohtani put together perhaps the greatest season in baseball history, becoming the unanimous winner of the American League MVP award.

What kind of encore can you produce for such a virtuoso performance?

Well, without as much fanfare, and despite not quite keeping pace with last year’s attacking numbers, Ohtani is currently putting together a 2022 campaign that still tops the list of best seasons we’ve ever had. views.

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Ben Verlander breaks down all things Shohei Ohtani, including the phenom’s incredible performance in front of his idol, Ichiro.

Maybe the angels‘ bidirectional phenomenon is to put together the the second best season we’ve ever seen – behind only his MVP year which redefined the numbers we consider possible for a single player.

Tuesday night in Anaheim, Ohtani’s superhuman abilities were on full display.

At the bottom of round six of a slugfest against the RoyalsOhtani undoubtedly hit a three-run homer that brought the Angels within two runs.

Then he came in bottom of the ninth, with LA down three and two men on board, the stage set perfectly for him to do something special.

Which of course he did.

On a 2-2 count, Ohtani fired a three-point shot on the night, tying the game. He stood and admired the outburst to right field for dramatic effect.

Although the Angels lost the game 12-11 in 11 innings, Ohtani finished the night 3-for-4 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

As usual, the performance sent our FOX Sports research team into the record books to contextualize stats that have rarely been seen before or never made by anyone to play the game.

Ohtani became the first Angels player with eight or more RBIs in a game since Garret Anderson in 2007 (when he had 10 in a game, which is the all-time franchise record).

He became the first Japanese-born player to reach eight RBIs in a game.

He is also one of only four players this season with four or more multiple home games, as well as one of only four players to have multiple games of five or more RBIs.

It was a magical night for Ohtani, and I watched her in awe.

As I’ve written before, we’re looking at modern-day Babe Ruth. There’s no better way to describe it than that.

Don’t let Ohtani’s historic 2021 season color your appreciation of what he’s doing in 2022. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing players to their best seasons and to be less impressed when they don’t reach the same numbers.

james lebron and Mike Trout, two all-time greats who also call LA home, are two examples. You can make a pretty good case for these two being the most MVP every season they’re healthy. Alas, the award goes to others due to the fact that Trout and James might decline from their years as MVPs.

It could be easy to have the same philosophy with Ohtani. Don’t let that happen.

And keep in mind that Ohtani is on course to have a higher average and more RBIs in 2022, while hitting nearly 40 homers.

Beyond those stellar home plate numbers, Ohtani is still a pretty good pitcher, posting a 2.94 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 67.1 innings on the mound.

I think John Smoltz said it best a few weeks ago on my “Flippin’ Bats” podcast: “If he was just a pitcher, he would be Jacob of Grom.”

And, oh yeah, that incredible Tuesday performance came the day before a game in which he pitched seven innings at two hits with a walk while stoking 12 and hitting three safely.


Shohei Ohtani is truly amazing in every sense of the word.

Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Batspodcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother, Justin, in Detroit as the Tigers’ 14th-round pick in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @Ben Verlander.

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