Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani makes history every time he takes the field.
We already know by now that he pitches like an ace and hits like a top middle-of-the-order slugger.
However, we continue to be amazed about how much he can still improve.
In 2021, he had a good 3.18 ERA, but was a monster with 46 homers; a performance that earned him the MVP award.
Last year, he was a bit worse as a hitter with 34 long balls and a lower OPS, but took a step forward on the mound and posted a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts.
Will this be the year in which he reaches unprecedented levels of excellence at both activities and breaks the WAR record?
Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, is an all-inclusive stat that combines hitting, fielding, and baserunning contributions to determine how much better a player is in comparison with a “replacement-level” player.
There is also a version for pitchers.
In the specific case of Ohtani, if we combine WAR from his hitting and pitching results from the 2021 season, his MVP year, we get 8.9.
In just a handful of games in the 2023 campaign, he is already ay 1.6 bWAR (Baseball Reference version of the stat; FanGraphs has a sligthly different one called fWAR).
“Shohei Ohtani has 1.6 bWAR through 11 games so far this season. That’s a 23.6 WAR pace. He might legitimately have greatest season in professional baseball history this year. This is not normal,” MLB Metrics tweeted.
Shohei Ohtani has 1.6 bWAR through 11 games so far this season. That’s a 23.6 WAR pace.
He might legitimately have greatest season in professional baseball history this year. This is not normal. pic.twitter.com/jcg3ubdGcS
— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) April 12, 2023
Of course it’s not normal, it’s Ohtani we are talking about!
Stats such as a 0.47 ERA or a 23.6 WAR season are unsustainable.
However, it’s fair to say he is well on his way to a career year, just in time before he hits free agency.
He will be a very wealthy man next winter.NEXT: Shohei Ohtani Is Already Having Another Legendary Season