By Ryan Harless
September 16, 2022
Ryan Harless is a third-year undergraduate at BGSU from Hillsboro, Ohio. He is majoring in Sport Management with a Journalism Minor. Baseball and golf at all levels are his primary interest but is also interested in combat sports, hockey, basketball, and football.
In the world of baseball, the Most Valuable Player award is one of if not the most sought-after award. It goes to the player who has the best numbers on the field in each respective league. There have been many debates in the past decade over if the award should include pitchers as there is already an award for the best pitcher in each respective league, that being the Cy Young award.
But in recent years there has been a phenom who has thrown a wrench into baseball tradition and how we think of its players. Shohei Ohtani is a twenty-eight-year-old who plays for The Los Angeles Angels. What separates Ohtani from literally EVERY other player in the MLB is the fact that he is an elite power hitter who is in the top five in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage. He is also an elite starting pitcher who is in the top five in ERA and strikeouts.
Enter Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge, who is currently on pace to break the all-time Yankee single season home run record. He also has a current slash line of .307/.410/.677 which are unreal numbers to have along with fifty plus home runs. Judge is having a career year and one that in any other time period would all but guarantee him a unanimous MVP award. But is he the most valuable?
I think that if we are looking at players strictly on stats for MVP voting you cannot give the award to anyone but Ohtani. Sure, Judge is having a massive year offensively and putting up numbers we haven’t seen since the days of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. But right now, Ohtani has scored 80 runs on offense and has only given up 40 earned runs as a pitcher. With Ohtani, you’re not only getting a far above average starting pitcher, but a starting pitcher who will more than cover the runs they give up at the plate!
In the 2021 season when Ohtani won his first MVP award, he negated the earned runs he gave up just with his home run count alone. He had insanely tough competition in the MVP race that year too as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was in major contention to win the first triple crown in MLB since 2012. But Ohtani still won unanimously.
Shohei Ohtani is a generational talent that we may never see again. It’s unfortunate for anyone else in the American League that puts up good numbers, but Shohei is, by far, the Most Valuable Player in all of Major League Baseball and will continue to be until he chooses not to.