It’s really Shohei Ohtani’s season.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield has revealed that the Los Angeles Angels superstar isn’t just one of the biggest names in competition at this year’s All-Star festivities – he’s also the No. 1 seed in the Derby Home Run.
Ohtani is one of eight competitors in this year’s derby, facing sluggers from across the league, including defending champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, who is ranked No. 5. summer.
“I always wanted to see a Japanese player participate in the derby, and it happens to be me,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “It’s really exciting for me.”
The 27-year-old outside of Iwate, Japan took titles left and right through the first half of the MLB season, and rightly so. He did a double duty for the Angels, playing both as a star pitcher and a designated batter. In addition to launching a 3.49 ERA with 87 laps this season, he also leads the league with 32 laps at home.