Los Angeles Angels star two-way player Shohei Ohtani has not played in a baseball game since Sept. 3 after injuring his oblique and won't play again for the rest of the season. He still might win his second American League MVP Award.
Since his MLB debut in 2018, Ohtani has captivated American audiences with his abilities as both a pitcher and a hitter. He's the first two-way player in baseball since the early 20th century (Rick Ankiel aside), and his ability to mash tape-measure home runs and strike out batters from the mound has earned him comparisons to baseball legend Babe Ruth.
With the 2023 season he had, those comparisons are sure to only get louder.
Ohtani will miss the Angels’ final 25 games, but will presumably still win MVP, a testament to an UNREAL season
only 2 players have missed the last 10+ team games of a season + won MVP or Cy Young:
2019 Mike Trout (MVP): last 19
1976 Jim Palmer (CYA): last 11
h/t @EliasSports https://t.co/ivvwpYFZAU
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) September 16, 2023
Shohei Ohtani oblique injury: Angels two-way star out for remainder of season with oblique injury
Shoehei Ohtani 2023 stats
In 2023, Ohtani appeared in 135 games as a hitter for the Angels. In those 135 games, he accumulated exactly 599 plate appearances and 497 at-bats.
Over that span in a season cut short due to an elbow injury, here are the the Japanese star's stats and where he ranks among American League hitters as of Wednesday afternoon:
A.L. Rank (MLB Rank)
On Base + Slugging (OPS)
Despite having missed over two weeks of regular season action, Ohtani still leads the American League in home runs and walks. The next closest batter, the White Sox' Luis Robert, still needs seven round-trippers just to tie Ohani's home run mark. The two-way phenom also still leads the major leagues with 21 intentional walks. No hitter across MLB is likely to catch his OPS of 1.066 with fewer than two weeks left in the regular season.
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Those are only his hitting statistics, which alone place him among the best hitters in all of baseball this year. His pitching statistics also paint him as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this year.
A.L. Rank (MLB Rank)
Batting Average Against (BAA)
Earned Run Average (ERA)
While Ohtani was putting up some of the best numbers of any American League hitter, he was also performing as a top five pitcher in the league across almost all categories. At one point in June, Ohtani was ranked top five in MLB in home runs, RBI, OPS, BAA, strikeouts (thrown) and swing-and-miss rate. He was MLB's overall leader in four of those six stats.
Ohtani had to end his pitching campaign early after learning he tore a ligament in his elbow in late August. He still continued his season as "only" a DH before his oblique injury about a week later.
Former MLB award winners who also missed time
In the history of Major League Baseball, only two players have missed more than their team's last 10 games of the season and still won an award: Ohtani's teammate Mike Trout won MVP in 2019 after missing the last 19 games of the season and Jim Palmer won the 1976 Cy Young after missing the final 11 games for the Orioles that year.
With the regular season concluding on Oct. 1, Ohtani will have missed the Angels' final 25 games. Even so, his season has been so statistically incredible on both sides of the ball that he will still likely run away with this year's MVP Award. If he wins, it will mark the second of his career.
Ohtani will become a free agent after the 2023 season, and even despite his injury, he may become one of the highest-paid players in MLB history when he signs his next contract.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shohei Ohtani: injured Angels star still 2023 AL MVP frontrunner