The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is one home run away from becoming the Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader.
Ohtani hit his 21st home run of the season on Aug. 15 against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Trailing 6-1 in the top of the ninth inning. With one out and Taylor Ward leading off with a double to left, Ohtani drove a 94.1-mph fastball right down the middle of the plate from left-hander Will Smith over the left-center field fence.
The statcast showed a 26-degree launch angle, 116.1 mph (186.8 km/h) and 453 feet (138.1 meters) of flight. The ball landed in the left-center field bleachers. A young fan caught the home run ball and jumped for joy. Ohtani executed a bat flip with even more motion and began to circle the bases.
Of note is the bat speed. It was the fastest ball hit by a left-handed hitter since statcast began in 2015. Coincidentally, the previous record also came from Texas’ home ballpark. Texas’ Joey Gallo (now of the Minnesota Twins) hit a solo home run to left-center in the bottom of the second inning against the Houston Astros at his former home, Globe Life Park, on September 26, 2017. The ball was clocked at 113.0 mph.
The fastest home run hit by a right-handed batter was 117.3 mph, a two-run shot to right-center field by Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees in the first inning at Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, on Opening Day 2018.
After the game, Angels manager Phil Nevin said, “He’s really (feeling) good. Too good. When he’s hitting like he’s hitting, it’s fun to watch.”
The question now is when Ohtani will reach the top of the home run leaderboard. For now, Ohtani’s two home runs against Texas on May 13 gave him the AL lead over the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (19).
He needs two more to pass Pete Alonso of the 메이저사이트 New York Mets. Alonso, who leads both leagues in home runs with 22, was diagnosed with a three- to four-week rehabilitation after breaking his wrist in the sand dunes against the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 8. His return for the first half is uncertain. Earlier in the week, Jersey also suffered a stubbed toe and is unlikely to return this month.
It’s only a matter of time before Ohtani, who is no slouch in the long ball department compared to Alonso and Judge, takes over the home run lead.
His recent long ball production has been terrifying. He’s hit nine home runs in his last 15 games, dating back to last month’s game against the Chicago White Sox. With the Angels playing 70 games, Ohtani is mathematically on pace to hit 49 homers. 50 homers is also possible. A first-time batting title is likely.
Ohtani hit 46 homers in 2021, good for third place in that 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 could easily repeat as AL MVP for the second year in a row. Ohtani also leads the league in bWAR (4.2) and fWAR (3.9) by a wide margin.