The entire sport of baseball has not seen someone like the 26-year-old since Babe Ruth.
Shohei Ohtani just doubled on a grounder to short pic.twitter.com/tRQN88L4Pw
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) May 4, 2021
So far this year, Ohtani has gotten off to a hot start on both sides of the ball, posting numbers that are among the league’s best.
This has led some to wonder: Can Ohtani win the MVP award?
If he keeps up this level of production, there would be little holding him back from making a strong case.
Here are three reasons why he can take home the hardware at the end of the year.
1. Ohtani Does It All
This is a rare sight for the MLB.
The league has become accustomed to pitchers just doing that, and hitters being poor on the mound.
However, Ohtani breaks that traditional mold and, for the first time in the modern sport, offers someone that can do both at a very high level.
Notable Shohei Ohtani AL Ranks
HR — 1st
Starters K/9 (Min 10 IP) — 1st
Home-1B Sprint Speed — 8th
Pitches Over 100 MPH (SP) — 1st
Barrels/PA — 1stpic.twitter.com/mcQqoVMZnz
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) May 4, 2021
Ever since making his way to the MLB from Japan, everyone knows that he possessed this talent.
However, he never had quite lived up to all of the hype despite winning the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2018.
He always posted solid numbers at the plate, including averages above .280 with around 20 home runs in both 2018 and 2019.
These still were just a step off of becoming truly elite.
In 2021, this has already all changed.
At the plate, Ohtani is leading the AL with nine home runs while also hitting .264.
Meanwhile, on the mound, he has posted a 3.29 ERA in three starts while finally seeming to be healthy for the first time in a while.
With this type of production on both sides of the ball, fans have been rightly mystified around how it is even possible.
It is a remarkable achievement for any play to accomplish such things on a baseball field, something that should certainly help his MVP case when the time comes.
2. Prodigious Power
From the left side of the plate, it would be hard to argue that many players possess as much power as Ohtani.
In the young season, he has already posted some monster home runs at a high rate.
Shohei Ohtani’s ninth home run of the year comes against Tyler Glasnow and this one was clobbered.
110.3 mph off the bat. 34 degree launch angle. 427 feet. pic.twitter.com/3G0uLDJnSg
— Brent Maguire (@bmags94) May 4, 2021
He is slugging home runs at a much higher rate than he has before, something that could help a potential MVP case.
If he keeps up this rate, Ohtani could find himself among the league leaders at the end of the year.
Then, if he is able to keep his batting average around the .270 mark, he would have a strong case for the MVP at the plate.
3. Ohtani As A Potential Ace
On the mound, Ohtani has the potential to become a true ace of the Angels pitching staff.
While there are still some concerns surrounding his durability and health, there is little denying how good his stuff is on the mound.
He features a dominant fastball with a devastating mix of off-speed pitches that proves to be a challenge for any hitter.
Shohei Ohtani, 97mph Fastball (Swinging Strike) & Unfair 82mph Back Door Slider (Backwards K), Overlay.
You can see how far off the plate the slider started. 😯 pic.twitter.com/NmFs2UpMCY
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 27, 2021
With a 3.29 ERA, he is posting numbers that look to be better than average.
If he is able to begin adding more innings and starts, while maintaining these stats, he will have an even stronger case to become the AL MVP.
When considering the MVP award, it will be interesting to see how they weigh a player that has done both.
However, fans should recognize that they could be watching an MVP talent that isn’t Mike Trout in Anaheim this year.