Why Shohei Ohtani Still has a Legitimate Case for MVP?

Why Shohei Ohtani Still has a Legitimate Case for MVP image

📖 Published on: May 31st, 2024

✍️ Updated: June 3rd, 2024

⏳ 8 mins read


It cannot be denied that the impeccable rise to prominence by Shohei Ohtani in his time with the Los Angeles Angels has been one of the most promising storylines to ever unfold in the MLB so far, and his massive campaigns in the game have only made him more of a favorite as a star to look out for and a top pick whenever the campaign for the MVP award begins again.


Why Shohei Ohtani is Still a Prime MVP Candidate?


While many people think that moving to join the Dodgers means that Ohtani’s MVP case will be capped, it seems that this is just the beginning of a promising phase in his career. The Japanese star has been on the rise in his budding career, making waves in the MLB with his impressive game and strong dominance on both ends of the pitch.


Ohtani was already a standout in his Japan run image

He has been quite the star to watch, being named the AL MVP twice in his career and being an All-Star three years in a row – showing how he has been a promising player to look out for. Ohtani has been thriving in baseball ever since he played in the NPB for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters since 2013. That has shaped his game well – getting early touches as a two-way player for the squad before he finally decided to move on and enter the MLB. Since then, everything has been a promising run for the star, winning the AL Rookie of the Year in 2018, and later entering star status after three years of development in the club and making headlines with his high-octane offensive play in the games that time.


Since then, Ohtani has been a delight to watch in the MLB with the way he has emerged as one of the best two-way talents in the game, being able to deliver massive pitching strides while also bringing a lot of homers that have earned him the praise of the whole MLB community over the years. That’s just the surface of his MVP contention, and we are still seeing bigger strides from the star as he continues to bring his game to the next level.


What Proves Ohtani’s Case for the MVP?


His run with the Dodgers is a new chapter in his career, and yet Ohtani remains capable of putting up some of the biggest performances in the game, and it does seem that he can still come up with an MVP campaign that many fans are keen to see whenever he takes on the big stage, and that’s what makes him special.


Ohtani is expected to remain in MVP contention image


So what proves that Ohtani still has a legitimate case for the MVP this season?


Being a DH Hasn’t Slowed Down Ohtani’s Game

Many experts claimed that Ohtani will likely fall out of the MVP mix due to his positioning in the game, and it does seem that way considering that he is moved to the designated hitter spot, where no player has won the MVP award in that spot. Still, there are a lot of interesting twists and turns in being a designated hitter – something that Ohtani has been efficient for most of his career, which makes it easy for him to make the big smashes that he is expected to pull off from time to time.


Ohtani truly thrives as a designated hitter image


Remember, Ohtani is an efficient player on both ends of the field, and it is easy to expect that he can simply nail down the ball and deliver massive hits when needed, which is why it is easy for him to thrive in that position with the way he plays his games. It should be enough to catapult his game to an MVP-level that can give him a chance to come up with yet another chance to be considered for the AL MVP now more than ever.


Ohtani’s Stats Still Rivals Betts’ Case for the MVP

It is also worth noting that Mookie Betts is a prime MVP candidate in his own right, and the decision to move Ohtani to the designated hitter spot means that the squad will be seeing more of Betts big game rather than the Japanese star’s. The NL MVP race is definitely locked between the two – even if there is more to consider in the likes of William Contreras, Ketel Marte and Alec Bohm. Even the likes of Elly De La Cruz is becoming a promising MVP candidate – which just adds some twists in the MVP campaign – but it is solely the Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani show.


Ohtani and Mookie Betts arguably share the same stats in the season image


Still, this will be a huge talk for months to come. Just look at the stat line between the two stars:


Betts: .345/.441/.563, 185 OPS+, 60 H, 11 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 28 RBI, 37 R, 8 SB, 30 BB, 20 K, 3.4 WAR


Ohtani: .361/.427/.680, 211 OPS+, 61 H, 16 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 30 RBI, 34 R, 9 SB, 21 BB, 36 K, 2.8 WAR


These stat lines are way too similar to begin with, with the WAR mostly being the point of discussion considering that it is what defines the usage rate between the two stars, but then again, it is worth noting that Ohtani is playing a limited role while Betts is seeing minutes on the defensive side, which says a lot about how it would be considered in the MVP race for good.


Ohtani’s Two-Way Upside is Still Promising


While there are a lot of talks on how Ohtani is really looking to be a two-way player in his run with the Dodgers. We all know how the Japanese star is well capable of bringing the thunder in his games, and it cannot be denied that we are all expecting to see more from Ohtani in this superteam setup with LA. He took the MLB world by storm when he showed off his pitching side, silencing critics when he was said to be a one-hit wonder in the game. The season is still young, and Ohtani may still have a chance to build up on his games in the squad.


Ohtani returning to his two-way run can ignite his MVP case image


Of course, the best-case scenario for the team is to actually have Ohtani playing as a two-way star again, where he was best used in his time with the Angels. We all know how well he thrives in the game when he comes up with some interesting strides night in and night out, and it should be a no-brainer as to how Ohtani can immerse himself in the success that he can come up with if he actually unleashed his full potential in his campaign with the Dodgers.


See How Ohtani Builds on his MVP Campaign in the MLB Season


Shohei Ohtani is expected to unearth his skills in his time with the Dodgers, and efficiency will be the biggest reason why he can actually build a strong case for the MVP. Now more than ever, we are seeing Ohtani continue to play at the best of his games, and this season will be a chance for him to cement his legacy as one of the best to ever play the game.


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