At this point, playing an All-Star Game withoutLos Angeles Angelsphenom Shohei Ohtani should be out of the question.
Year after year, he does enough to be a starter for the American League team, but this year, he has taken his game to another level.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Ohtani is not only the leading vote-getter at the designated hitter position, but he is doing so with a huge lead over the second-placed hitter, Brandon Belt.
An Angels insider, Sam Blum of The Athletic, made a joke about Ohtani s All-Star chances.
Starting to think there’s a chance Shohei Ohtani makes the AL All-Star team. pic.twitter.com/XVUgV0h3OV
Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) June 20, 2023
There you have the top three vote-getters at the DH spot: Robbie Grossman is third with just over 270,000, Belt is second just short of 500,000, and Ohtani has a few laps on both with almost 1,900,000 votes.
Only Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr., with more than 2,200,000, has more votes than Ohtani.
Ohtani was probably MLB s most popular player before the season started, but that popularity rose even more with his World Baseball Classic performance.
Now, Ohtani is a well-known figure even in countries in which baseball isn t that popular.
Nobody is bigger than the sport, but Ohtani is certainly the best and most unique athlete ever to step on a baseball field.
He has done more than enough to be the starter at the DH spot, with a .300/.384/.632 line and 24 home runs already.
It has been probably his finest offensive season.
On the other hand, he has enough merits to pitch in the All-Star Game, with a 3.29 ERA in 82 innings.
He has been the Angels best hitter and pitcher at the same time.
He is a treasure for baseball.