“With the return of Mike Trout, the opportunity to fight Shohei Ohtani will increase.”
On the 22nd, the Japanese media 토토사이트‘Full Count’ mentioned the possibility of Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels pitching star, to hit the 60th home run title and the first Japanese major league home run title. Ohtani hit 43 home runs in 123 games this season. He left 3 to 46 homers, the most in a single season in 2021, and 17 to Ma’s 60th home run. The Angels have 37 games left in the regular season. Although it is not easy, there is still a chance to challenge 60 home runs.
Ohtani is currently tied with Matt Olson (Atlanta, National League) for first place in home runs in the major leagues. First of all, we have to start by beating Olson, but defending the American League home run title seems easy. Ohtani is 10 ahead of Lewis Robert (White Sox, 33 home runs), who is second in home runs in the American League.
Full Count hoped that Ohtani’s home run pace would revive soon after Trout returned from injury. Trout is a hitter who won the American League MVP three times in 2014, 2016 and 2019, and was called an unrivaled baseball genius until Ohtani appeared in the major leagues. The media looked at it as a move to prepare a place for Trout to return, saying, “Trout left with a wrist bone fracture on the 5th of last month (Korean time), but the Angels organized the outfield roster on the 21st.”
“If you look at Ohtani’s performance this season, he hit 31 homers in 86 games before Trout left. However, after Ohtani left, he hit 12 homers in 37 games. However, the number of intentional 4 pitches increased from 4 before trout breakaway to 12 after breakaway. After Trout’s injury, the number of games is less than half, but the number of intentional four-balls has tripled. If Trout returns, (the opponent’s battery) will have more chances to compete with Ohtani,’ he pointed out.
Ohtani set the record for most home runs in a season by a Japanese player with 46 home runs in 2021. But that year, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto) and Salvador Perez (Kansas City) tied for the top spot in home runs with 48 home runs, so Ohtani could not win the home run title. This year is a great opportunity to break the record for the most home runs in Japan and win the title of the first Japanese home run king.
Full Count borrowed the words of Luis Mendoza, a veteran pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), and predicted the possibility of Ohtani hitting 60 home runs. Mendoza had experience playing with Ohtani for the Nippon Ham Fighters from 2013 through winter to 2017.
Full Count said, ‘Mendoza said Ohtani was in a position to hit 60 home runs. He hopes to achieve the feat by putting up a last-minute spurt, hitting 17 in his remaining 37 games,’ he said.
There have been 6 hitters in MLB history who have surpassed the 60 home run mark. Barry Bonds (73 home runs in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 home runs in 1998, 65 home runs in 1999), Sammy Sosa (66 home runs in 1998, 63 home runs in 1999, 64 home runs in 2001), Aaron Judge (62 home runs in 2022) , Roger Maris (61 home runs in 1961) and Babe Ruth (60 home runs in 1927). Among them, the only active hitter is the New York Yankees’ flagship hitter, Judge. Will Ohtani be able to surpass Ma’s 60 home run mark and stand shoulder to shoulder with the legendary home run hitters in the major leagues?