Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Home run unification’ is imminent.

It’s not long before Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels becomes the all-time leader in home runs in the major leagues.메이저놀이터

Ohtani hit his 21st home run of the season in an away game against the Texas Rangers held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on the 15th (hereafter Korean time).

The last at-bat in the top of the 9th inning, trailing 1-6. After one death, Taylor Ward reached base with a double from the left side, and Ohtani hit the left-hander Will Smith’s 94.1-mile four-seam fastball that flew into the middle of the second pitch and crossed the middle left wall.

Statcast reported a launch angle of 26 degrees, an exit velocity of 116.1 miles (186.8 km), and a distance of 453 feet (138.1 m). The batted ball landed in the middle left middle of the crowd. A boy fan jumped up and down for joy after catching the home run ball. After Ohtani flipped the bat with a larger motion, he started spinning around the bases.

One thing to note is the exit velocity. Since the introduction of Statcast in 2015, it flew the fastest among batted balls pushed by left-handed batters. Coincidentally, the previous record also came from Texas’ home stadium. Texas Joey Gallo (now Minnesota Twins) hit a solo home run to left-center on September 26, 2017 as the lead batter in the bottom of the second inning against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park, the former home ground. His exit velocity at the time was 113.0 mph.

The highest exit velocity of a home run pushed by a right-handed hitter is 117.3 miles, and it is a right-center two-run four that New York Yankees Giancarlo Stanton hit in the bottom of the first inning at the Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, in the opening game in 2018.

After the game, Angels manager Phil Nevin smiled broadly, saying, “He’s in really good condition. He’s so good. It’s fun to watch him play like he does now.”

The Angels mainly deploy No. 2 Ohtani and No. 3 Trout this season. AFP Yonhap News
The concern now is when Ohtani will rise to the top of the home run rankings. First of all, Ohtani shot two homers against Texas on the 13th, surpassing Aaron Judge (19 homers) of the Yankees to lead the AL alone.

Now, with just two more, he surpasses New York Mets Pete Alonso. Alonso, who led both leagues with 22 homers, suffered a wrist bone injury on a sand dune in the game against the Atlanta Braves on the 8th and was diagnosed with 3-4 weeks of rehabilitation. It is unclear whether he will return in the first half. Previously, Judge also suffered a toe bruise, making it difficult to return within this month.

It is only a matter of time before Ohtani, who is never behind in slugging power even compared to Alonso and Judge, will lead the team in home runs.

The recent sluggishness is terrifying. Starting with the Chicago White Sox match on the 31st of last month, he hit 9 home runs in his last 15 games. With the Angels playing 70 games, Ohtani can arithmetically hit 49 home runs. That means hitting 50 homers is possible. The first home run king in his life is likely.

Ohtani hit 46 homers in 2021, ranking third in the category. Last year, he was tied for 11th overall and fourth in the AL with 34 homers. If he wins the home run title this season, he is expected to easily win the AL MVP in two years. Ohtani also ranks first with an overwhelming difference in bWAR (4.2) and fWAR (3.9).

Judge fell below the required at-bat that day, and Ohtani rose to first place in the AL slugging percentage (0.610) and OPS (0.987).

However, the presence of Mike Trout, who forms a ‘double gun’ with Ohtani, is hardly highlighted. On this day, Trout recorded no hits and two walks in three at-bats, but no hits. He has a .252 batting average (62-for-246), 14 homers, 37 RBIs, 42 runs scored, and an OPS of .826. OPS is the lowest except for 2011, his debut season. The bWAR is 2.1 and the fWAR is 2.0, which is outside the top 30 overall.

Entering June, he batted 0.122 (5 hits in 41 at-bats) in 12 games. It is the appearance of a lot of intimidation behind Ohtani No. 2.

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