Alex Rodriguez compares Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People profile
The short piece was complimentary and effusive, as with most things ARod says and does nowadays, but wholly accurate.
When it was announced that Ohtani would leave Japan to enter MLB, many were skeptical that he could be a true two-way player long-term. I was one of those skeptics.
After all, even the great Babe Ruth did not truly do both at the same time. It was only after he put his pitching days behind him that he became the true Sultan of Swat that we’ve all grown up hearing about, the one who led MLB in home runs almost every season from 1918-1931, one of many standout statistics.
Rodriguez describes Ohtani as a Frankenstein’s monster of sorts (in a complimentary way). He uses Frankenstein as a verb to explain how Ohtani is an amalgamation of some of the other great talents in the game:
“If you were to Frankenstein every unique talent into one player, you’d get Shohei Ohtani. He has the power of Bryce Harper, the pitching of Max Scherzer and the speed of Trea Turner.”
While I’m more inclined to say that Ohtani is unlike anyone else, ARod evokes these other players as a means to highlight just how talented the young star is in every facet of the game.
Ohtani can throw 100 mph. His 44 home runs are second-most in MLB, his 94 RBI are tied for eighth, and his .965 OPS is fourth. He’s stolen 23 bases. Not only is he doing everything, he’s doing it all excellently.
Bryce Harper is having an MVP season for the struggling Phillies
Ohtani is the likely American League MVP and has been for months. The National League accolade is more up-for-grabs; ironic, since it’s the league where pitchers actually are supposed to hit.
Harper leads all of MLB in OPS, is tied for sixth in batting average, and is second in on-base percentage and slugging. He is having an MVP-caliber season of his own, though no one is in the same class as Ohtani. How could they be? MLB barely knew his class existed.