Yes, the Angels are 59-76, good for being 28 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West and in need of a historic miracle if they want to make the playoffs.
Through thick and thin, however, the Angels have a compelling reason to tune into their games this season: Ohtani. Twitter users on Tuesday took notice of Ohtani’s stranglehold on nearly every major hitting and pitching category for the Angels.
Indeed, Ohtani leads Los Angeles in runs (78), hits (130), home runs (32), RBIs (85), walks (66) and total bases (259). He’s slugging .537. According to Statcast, Ohtani is in the 95th percentile of MLB in average exit velocity, 98th in barrel percentage and 100th in maximum exit velocity.
Ohtani leads their starting rotation in ERA (2.58), strikeouts (181) and wins (11). Furthermore, he owns a 1.04 WHIP and a 156 ERA+. He is primarily relying on his slider and four-seamer, while mixing in a split-fingered fastball, curveball and filthy new sinker.
The two-way sensation and defending AL MVP cracked his second MLB All-Star Game roster this season, hitting leadoff for the American League. Will he defend his MVP crown? New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge is the likely front-runner for the award, as he has totaled an MLB-best 54 home runs, 117 RBIs and 80 walks while owning a .302/.403/.682 batting line.
While Judge might very well win the AL MVP, Ohtani is arguably the most valuable player in the sport taking into account his All-Star-level production in the batter’s box and on the mound.
L.A.’s star center fielder Mike Trout has been consistent too, owning a .275/.365/.603 batting line across 95 games. Infielder Luis Rengifo is hitting .273. But outside of Ohtani and the aforementioned hitters, offensive production has been severely limited for the Angels, who are tied for 25th in runs (515).
The Angels have an unknown future, as the team is for sale and interim manager Phil Nevin’s status is a gray area. Los Angeles reportedly received trade inquiries from teams for Ohtani, 28 and a free agent after 2023, at the MLB trade deadline. Moving forward, they will have to determine whether the prudent play is to extend Ohtani or cash in on the two-way star’s trade value before he hits the open market.
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