By Tae-woo Kim] Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Angels) was the unanimous winner of the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. His performance as a hitter was fundamentally good, and he competed with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto) for the best hitter at the time.
Ohtani won the Silver Slugger award for designated hitter with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs. His adjusted OPS of 157 was 57% better than the league average, and while he took a step back last year, he was still one of the league’s best hitters with an OPS+ of 144.
However, it has been argued that Ohtani is not yet a “top 5” hitter, meaning that there are at least five hitters who are better than him. While it’s clear that Ohtani is a great two-way player, it does mean that there are better hitters out there, at least in terms of batting average.
Major League Baseball Network’s Mark DeRosa posted his list of the five best hitters in baseball today. Ohtani wasn’t on the list, but there’s a reason for that. Some of the best hitters of our time made the list.
At No. 5 is Ronald Acuña Jr. (26, Atlanta), a candidate for this year’s National League Most Valuable Player (MVP). Acuña Jr. is the poster child for the Hota Juniors: he can hit, run, and catch. Coming off a devastating ACL tear, he is batting .332 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs, 22 doubles, and a .995 OPS in 50 games this season.
Fourth on the list is Freddie Freeman, 34, Los Angeles Dodgers, a symbol of steadiness. In 51 games this season, Freeman is still hitting .325 with nine home runs, 31 RBIs, and an OPS of .956. Freeman has a career batting average of .299, and at his current pace, he’s on pace to become a three-hitter.
In third place is Hall of Famer 안전놀이터 Mike Trout (32, Los Angeles Angels). After being limited to 36 games in 2021 and 119 games last year due to injury, Trout has been healthy this year. A healthy Trout is an unquestionable player. His batting average is down to .275 in 47 games this year, but he has 12 home runs for an OPS of .891. For his career, Trout has a .998 OPS.
In second place is Jordan Alvarez (26, Houston), who is considered one of the best hitters in the game. Alvarez, who beat out Ohtani for the American League Designated Hitter of the Year award last year, is hitting .297 with 12 home runs, 46 RBIs, and a 1.003 OPS in 43 games this year. He’s a designated hitter, so his defensive contributions aren’t as strong, but at least he can hit.
At the top of the list is Aaron Judge (31, New York Yankees), last year’s American League MVP, who hit 62 home runs last year. After a slow start to the season due to injury, Judge is back to his cannon-like ways. In 41 games this season, he’s already hit 14 home runs, which puts him at the top of the league in home runs. His 1.032 OPS this year also leads the American League.