Los Angeles Angels' superstar Shohei Ohtani has been doubted ever since he came to the U.S.A to play in the MLB. The two-way phenom was told by many people around the sports world that he would never excel as a pitcher and hitter in the big leagues. Last year, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN outlandishly proclaimed that Ohtani needed to learn English to become the face of baseball. Ohtani responded to all of the criticism by not only winning over baseball fans with his humble demeanor and unique skillset, he went ahead and took home AL MVP honors after accomplishing things nobody has done since Babe Ruth on a baseball field.
But for MLB Network's Alanna Rizzo, he cannot be the best player for one reason.
Shohei Ohtani is a pitcher.
"I don't think Ohtani can be #1 (player in baseball) because he's a pitcher."
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) April 4, 2022
Alanna Rizzo shared her opinion on MLB Network's show “High Heat” with host Chris Russo. Russo's stunned faced following her comments tell the story.
It should be noted that Rizzo is a respected reporter who previously worked for the Dodgers. But this take is disrespectful to Ohtani. Even if pitchers could not be the best players in baseball, Ohtani is an obvious exception. Most pitchers don't post a 3.18 ERA with 156 strikeouts and then go blast 46 home runs with 100 RBI's an a .965 OPS.
But the initial assessment is questionable as well, because pitchers can be the best players in baseball.
Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw have both won MVP awards in their careers. Had Jacob deGrom stayed healthy for all of 2021, there is a very real chance that he would have been in the conversation for best MLB player.
Shohei Ohtani is ranked alongside his Angels teammate Mike Trout as one of the top players in the game, and that is right where he belongs.