Since coming over from Japan before the 2018 season, he had teased us with his enormous talent to pitch and hit, but it was last year when he could finally be healthy enough to dazzle with his performance doing both activities for a sustained period of time.
Before diving into his numbers and merits, this needs to be said: if there was any doubt Ohtani is now the face of MLB, they have been eliminated with MLB The Show’s latest announcement.
The famous baseball video game announced that Ohtani will be on the cover for the 2022 edition.
The Most Exciting Baseball Player Alive
When fans acquire the game, the first thing they will see is the most exciting player in baseball.
San Diego Padres’ shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was on the cover for the 2021 edition.
MLB The Show usually changes the cover athlete from year to year.
Players such as Tatis, Javier Baez, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Ken Griffey Jr., Yasiel Puig, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, David Ortiz, David Wright, and Ryan Howard, among several others, have made the cover in the past: it’s a pretty prestigious distinction.
Ohtani is, deservingly, the cover athlete for the 2022 edition.
In fact, there is also a special issue, the “MVP Edition”, that has a blazing design of Ohtani as a manga character wearing the Angels jacket in the presence of flames.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) February 2, 2022
That cover was designed by famous manga artist, director, and writer Takashi Ozakaki (the creator of “Afro Samurai,” “Batman Ninja”, and many others), who happens to be a big fan of Ohtani.
The game itself will be available starting on April 5.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 31, 2022
With the current uncertainty about the future of the 2022 MLB campaign, fans are, no doubt, eager to buy the game and play it non-stop.
The Best Baseball Player On The Planet
If the 2021 season taught us something, is that Ohtani is the best and most complete baseball player alive.
He is not the best pitcher, and he is not the best hitter.
But he can do both activities at an elite level, and no one has done that simultaneously at any point in American professional baseball.
Babe Ruth was a stellar pitcher in the 1910s, but then started to focus on hitting in the 1920s and became perhaps the best player of all time.
Ohtani had a historic season last year: on the mound, he was the Angels’ ace, with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
He accumulated 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a pitcher.
As a hitter, he was even better, bopping 46 home runs, scoring 103 runs, and driving in 100.
He slashed .257/.372/.592, had a .965 OPS, and accumulated 5.1 WAR.
If we combine his performance in the two roles, he had 8.1 WAR while occupying only one roster spot.
Ohtani is a monster, and his performances on the field are making him the face of MLB.NEXT: MLB Expected To Adopt A Popular Rule Change