Ohtani’s ‘batman’ is back… Crazy Jangta Sho resumes his bout with Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani (30-LA Dodgers), who made a full recovery from an elbow injury, was named the American League’s unanimous Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2021 after flawlessly executing a two-hitter that many thought was only possible in cartoons.

Ohtani batted .257 with 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, and a .965 OPS in 155 games as a hitter in 2021. That’s an MVP-caliber OPS on its own, but when you add in his 9-2 record and 3.18 ERA in 23 games as a pitcher, it’s no wonder he was the unanimous MVP. His contributions to the team from both sides of the plate were significant.

Ohtani’s two-hitter was even better in 2022. As a pitcher in 2022, Ohtani went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA in 28 games, finishing fourth in the Cy Young Award voting. As a hitter, he batted .273 with 34 home runs, 95 RBIs, and an OPS of .875 in 157 games. His overall team contributions were similar, with a slight drop in hitting but an increase in pitching.

However, there was one player who overshadowed Ohtani with a single “hit”: Aaron Judge (32-New York Yankees). In 157 games in 2022, Jersey put up a monster .311 batting average, 62 home runs, 131 RBIs, and a 1.111 OPS. In Wins Above Replacement (WAR), where Ohtani’s contributions from both sides of the plate are inevitably favored, Jersey, who is only a hitter, is ahead. Add to that the fact that he’s the most home runs in New York Yankees history and the most in American League history, and it’s no wonder he was named MVP.

However, Judge’s start to the season was not so good. In his first 23 games of the season, Judge worried fans with an inexplicable slump that saw his batting average drop to .174. He had just three home runs, a .337 on-base percentage, and a .645 OPS, which is uncharacteristic of Jersey. The spotlight was on the slump because he’s such a high-profile player, even this early in the season. ESPN even theorized that his hand height had increased and that it was slowing down his swing.

At the time, however, he made the iconic statement, “I am Aaron Judge.” As far as he is concerned, nothing has changed. The expectation was that he would bounce back, and he did, because unlike last year, he was injury-free. After his first 23 games, he bounced back perfectly, hitting .347 with eight home runs, a .773 OPS, and a 1.246 OPS through 16 games.

Against Minnesota at Target Field on April 16, he broke out in a big way, tying his career high for walks in a game (five) and tying his career high for long 사설토토 balls in a game (four). His first at-bat was a massive home run that landed in the third deck of the Target Field outfield. He followed that up with a pair of doubles to right-center, left-center, and center field to cap off a four-hit game.

In New York Yankees history, only three players have had more than two four-hit games in a Yankees uniform: Lou Gehrig (five), Joe DiMaggio (five), and Babe Ruth (two). Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui also had four-hit games, but not twice. This is the second time that Judge has joined the list of legendary players. Since May 6, he has hit five home runs in nine games, indicating that he has found his form.

He continued his recent hot streak on May 17 against Minnesota, hitting two doubles. His OPS for the season is on the rise. After struggling in the teens, his batting average has risen to .262, his on-base percentage is up to .555, and his OPS is back in the normal range at .948. In 2022, Jersey’s OPS was 1.111, and in 2023, it was 1.019. His adjusted OPS is now 169. This is close to last year’s adjusted OPS (175) because he’s pitching a bit more this year.

Through 14 games in May, Judge is batting .396 with a .517 on-base percentage, .896 slugging percentage, and 1.413 OPS. That’s a tremendous pace. Having proven himself wrong, Judge is now poised to challenge Shohei Ohtani for the title of “best hitter”. Judge has 11 home runs and an OPS of 0.948 in 17 games, while Ohtani has 12 home runs and an OPS of 1.099 in 17 games. It will be interesting to see if Judge can catch up to Ohtani and claim the title of best hitter.


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