Shohei Ohtani continues to make waves every game as he quickly becomes the face of baseball.
On Sunday, Shohei Ohtani squared up a four-seam fastball from reigning AL Reliever of the Month and Boston Red Sox closer Matt Barnes to take the lead for the Angels on a two-run home run in the top of the ninth with two outs. The swing only furthered the growing legend of Ohtani, who has become one of the most talked-about players in baseball now that he is healthy.
But the question has quickly become this: Is Ohtani the new face of baseball?
Many will say that his teammate, Mike Trout, takes that honor while others look at players like Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge and Fernando Tatis Jr.
But as the season continues on and Ohtani shows that he is able to be special on both sides of the game as a pitcher and hitter, it is nearly impossible for anyone to surpass him as the new face of baseball.
The Japanese superstar came over to the United States nicknamed the “Japanese Babe Ruth” and despite those being lofty expectations, his play this season is showing that could be more legitimate than a myth. His past two seasons had been riddled with injuries to his throwing arm, forcing the Los Angeles Angels designated hitter to only focusing on the hitting aspect of his game. The pitching has now caught up with the hitting on the major league level.
Shohei Ohtani’s talent at the plate and on the mound makes him a unique star
Ohtani is 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA through 25 1/3 innings pitched. He also has 40 strikeouts during that stretch, all numbers that would make you notice that he is the ace of the Angels staff when it comes to his day to pitch.
On the offensive side, Ohtani is tied for the most home runs in the majors with 12 and is in the top-10 with 29 RBI. Add all that up and he continues to make and break his own records each passing day as the most must-see player in baseball.
When it comes down to being the face of baseball, Ohtani’s worldwide popularity is what gives him the edge over everyone else. MLB has been trying to popularize the game of baseball once again after continuous falling ratings and overall interest in the game. There is no one more profitable and interesting in their game than Ohtani, who is performing at the level to be the face of baseball moving forward.
Marketability is one thing and popularity is a whole other. The rising interest in Ohtani is what gives him the possibility to be seen as the new face of baseball. His highlights are becoming a common theme on a nightly basis. As long as he continues to play the way he is on both sides of the ball, it will not only be difficult for fans to not recognize him as the new face of the game but the MLB as well.
He not only will be in the MVP talk all season, but with his first All-Star game appearance likely on the way and a chance to perform in the Home Run Derby a very possible reality, 2021 is the year of Ohtani establishing himself as the face of baseball.