Shohei Ohtani is better than any baseball player ever, and I don’t think that’s hyperbole.
That’s not to say he will wind up the best to ever do it, he’s already 27 and has a long way to go to get into those conversations. It’s just to say no one has ever been better than he is at this moment.
I sure hope you haven’t taken a drink every time you’ve heard him compared to Babe Ruth, who has always been held up as baseball’s mythical figure. While to me personally, the presence enhanced Barry Bonds had at the plate will never be matched. It’s a joke Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame, but at the same time, it’d be naive not to attribute some of his performance to PEDs. With Ohtani, we’re talking about a player we have to assume is playing clean and is also doing so outside of The Roaring 20s, which were Ruth’s heyday.
In an era of specialists, he is impacting the game in every way. He leads the majors in home runs and slugging percentage, so we know the power numbers are there. But the guy also has 12 stolen bases and is tied for the Major League lead in bunt hits. So legging it out isn’t a problem even when Ohtani isn’t in a home run trot.
He also just became the first player ever to be selected to the All-Star game as both a position player and a pitcher. On the mound, Shohei is striking out nearly 12 batters per 9 innings and his splitter has been as effective as any pitch in MLB.
As Tom Verducci pointed out, he hits the ball harder than Juan Soto, throws harder than Yu Darvish, and runs faster than Randy Arozarena while putting up numbers at the plate comparable to Willie Mays and to Roger Clemens on the hill at the same point in their careers.
No one has ever done all of that. So, like I said before, no one has ever been better than MLB: The Sho.