Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani recorded his 20th stolen base of the season on Saturday night against the San Diego Padres. By doing so, Ohtani joined a special class of players to accomplish the feat at all, let alone before the start of September.
Ohtani, who entered the night with 41 home runs, is just the third American League player in history to record a 40-20 season before September 1, according to STATS. The other players who have pulled off that trick were Álex Rodríguez in 2007 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999.
It's worth noting that Rodríguez won the AL Most Valuable Player Award that fall. Griffey, conversely, finished 10th in voting. Ohtani appears to be the favorite to win the AL MVP Award despite the Angels' so-so record for an obvious reason: he's doing this as a hitter while also pitching at a high level.
Coming into Saturday, Ohtani had hit .266/.365/.628 (161 OPS+) in more than 500 trips to the plate. He'd also compiled a 3.00 ERA (153 ERA+) with a 3.26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 105 innings across 19 starts.
Ohtani is just the fourth player since 2010 to record a 40-20 season, joining Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuña Jr. (2019), Ryan Braun (2012), and Curtis Granderson (2011). According to Baseball Reference's Stathead tool, his 40-20 season is the 32nd all-time. This is the first 40-20 season in Angels franchise history; Mike Trout came close in 2018, when he launched 39 home runs and stole 24 bases in 140 games.
The Angels were 63-67 at the start of the night, putting them 11 losses behind the Boston Red Sox for the second wild card spot in the AL.