On the second pitch he saw Tuesday night against Cleveland (CLE-LAA GameTracker), Los Angeles Angels DH/resting starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani homered for the 14th time this season to extend his major league lead in that category. Here's a look:
That's a 94 mph fastball from Zach Plesac turned into a 440 foot home run to center that left the bat at 111.9 mph. At this writing, Ohtani's 14 homers leads by two over a pack of second-placers that includes Freddie Freeman of the Braves, Cleveland's Jose Ramirez, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, Mitch Haniger of the Mariners, and Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Braves. Ohtani's now slashing .268/.317/.634 on the season.
As you're no doubt aware, Ohtani -- when not cracking homers as the Angels' DH and No. 2 hitter -- doubles as a standout starting pitcher. On that front, consider this relevant statistical content:
Shohei Ohtani is second in MLB in slugging percentage, among 177 players with 120+ PA— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) May 19, 2021
Shohei Ohtani is first in MLB in slugging percentage allowed, among 144 pitchers with 25+ IP
Heading into his scheduled Wednesday start against Cleveland, Ohtani the moundsman boasts a 2.10 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. Getting that kind of two-way excellence from a single roster spot is why Ohtani is squarely in the AL MVP discussion. The Angels may not shine in the standings, but Ohtani's unexampled-since-Babe-Ruth excellence on the mound and at the plate isn't diminished by that.