Ohtani is a 23-year-old baseball star who has been described as “the Babe Ruth of Japan.” He’s on his way to becoming the best pitcher in MLB history, but not before some early struggles.

Shohei Ohtani is a Japanese baseball player who has been on the MLB radar for quite some time. He was called up to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2016 and made his debut in 2017. Babe Ruth, on the other hand, is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time.

Shohei Ohtani is nearing the end of the best Major League Baseball season in history. He’s done incredible things at the bat, on the mound, and on the base paths. It’s no longer a question of whether Ohtani can outperform Babe Ruth. He’s already there.

Imagine the 6-foot-4, 27-year-old Japanese superstar facing Ruth in the batter’s box. At 1-2, Ruth gets the count in his favor and instead of throwing a breaking ball to keep Ohtani guessing, he throws a high fastball that Ohtani smashes 420 feet to left.

Imagine Ruth entering the batter’s box to face Ohtani in the next half inning. On The Babe, Ohtani gets the identical 1-2 count and throws the same high fastball. Ruth swings and misses, trying to keep up with the 102 mph speed demon.

It’s hard to predict how this ideal showdown of Major League Baseball’s greatest two-way players will play out, but it’ll probably go something like this.

Shohei Ohtani is enjoying the best season in Major League Baseball history.


Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels jogs to first base during the eighth inning of a game against the Texas Rangers. The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani jogs to first base against the Texas Rangers in the eighth inning. | Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The star of the Los Angeles Angels is having the best all-around season in MLB history. With 21 games remaining, the 27-year-old leads all of baseball in home runs (44) and has the best slugging percentage in the American League (.615). Ohtani’s conventional numbers are as remarkable, with 94 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases.

But it’s this other stat line that goes along with his offensive production that sets the former Rookie of the Year apart from virtually everyone else in history: 9-2 with a 3.36 ERA and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 21 starts.

Ohtani may have 50 home runs, 100 RBIs, 25 stolen bases, and 10 wins on the mound by the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.

Ohtani was already the most talented MLB player of all time, and now he has a chance to be the best.

Ruth is undoubtedly the name that comes up most often in contrast to Ohtani. However, the 2021 campaign of the former Nippon Ham Fighter outperforms any two-way season in The Sultan of Swat’s career.

Baseball-Reference defines WAR as “a single figure that represents the amount of wins a player contributed to the club above what a replacement player (think AAA or AAAA) would add.” Ruth had three of baseball’s greatest seasons in terms of WAR, but he’s never been as useful in both ways as Ohtani has been in 2021.

As a pitcher, Ruth had a WAR of 6.5, while as a position player, he had a WAR of 2.1. Ruth had a WAR of 2.3 as a pitcher and 4.7 as a hitter in 1918, his last complete season as a two-way player.

Ohtani’s WAR as a pitcher is 3.1 (down from around the all-star break), but his WAR as a hitter is 4.5 with three weeks remaining in the regular season. Ruth had greater hitting seasons and better pitching seasons than Ohtani, but he was never as important in all areas as he is now in 2021.

Bullet Rogan, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s and 1930s, is the only other comparable player in baseball history. Because Seamheads.com’s Negro League statistics have been integrated into Baseball-database, Reference’s comparing Rogan’s numbers to Ruth’s and Ohtani’s is now feasible. According to FiveThirtyEight, Rogan had an 8.7 WAR season as a hitter and an 8.8 WAR season as a pitcher in 1922.

That season is statistically the best in baseball history, and it will likely stay so until human beings depart the planet.

Ohtani is on a career path that is unrivaled.

For the Oshu, Japan native, 2020 was mostly a lost season. He was injured for the most of the season and only appeared in 44 games. Ohtani’s MLB career best in plate appearances before to 2021 was 425 in 2019. He hit.286 with 18 home runs, 62 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases that year. He didn’t throw a pitch.

Ohtani has more than doubled his home run total from last year, set a new career best in RBIs with 32 (as of Sept. 11), stolen 11 more bases, reached base more often, and improved his slugging percentage and OPS significantly. Prior to this season, he had never started more than ten games on the pitch.

Ohtani will be in his fourth season in the big leagues in 2021. He is a 27-year-old man. His season was statistically better than any Ruth had ever had. He’s already better than the Yankee icon, and he’ll only become better.

Baseball-Reference provided all statistics.

Shohei Ohtani drew out a plan worthy of the Hall of Fame as a teenager.

In the last two months, Shohei Ohtani has hit 20 home runs and has a batting average of .286. Babe Ruth is considered to be one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, but he did not have a batting average over .300 until his age 30 season. Reference: shohei ohtani home runs.

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