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Is Shohei Ohtani Overrated?

Sebastián Vermut

Shohei Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December of 2023.

Shohei Ohtani is overrated. Boom. I said it. The player who everyone seems to be calling the “unicorn of baseball” or the “greatest of all time” has a very hit-or-miss future. At age 29, Ohtani is no doubt a superstar. Signing a 700 million-dollar contract is no small feat (in fact, it’s nearly double the previous highest baseball contract), and if you add all the brand deals that pay him hand over fist to wear their products, he might become baseball’s first billionaire. He was offered so much not only because of his baseball abilities but also because of the money he brought in from Japanese advertisements. We’ve seen the Los Angeles Angels’ stadium become much more multicultural since his arrival. These international advertisements almost entirely repay the money the Los Angeles Dodgers are spending on him. For this reason, the 700 million dollars is almost not enough. 

He’s a great baseball player, one of the best of our time, without a doubt. He definitely is not the greatest of all time, however. He just injured his pitching arm, which requires a UCL implant, and this is the second time he has torn it. During the 2024 season, he will be constrained to a designated hitter spot while his arm heals. Once it does, who’s to know whether he will be the dominant pitcher he was in the 2023 season? In 2023, he was a good pitcher and a great hitter. This makes him an excellent player. However, if injuries keep bogging him down, at one point, he will have to stop pitching. And once he can’t pitch anymore, he’ll be a great hitter. Ohtani is a sure-fire Hall of Fame first-ballot admit but not the best to play the game, as he has a very long way to go before we can truly compare him to players like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron (the latter of which really is the greatest of all time). Ohtani has the offensive production of someone like Kyle Shchwarber. He has the pitching power of Freddy Peralta. Put together, this is a superstar, but not the greatest of all time. What makes Ohtani so incredible is his persistence. He is almost always available to play and will be a plus on any team. As he ages, his dependence will go down as he injures himself more and more. To say that Ohtani is overrated is not to say he isn’t an incredible player. Derek Jeter, one of the greatest New York Yankees of all time, was overrated. Clayton Kershaw, a certified ace, is overrated. Bryce Harper is an incredible player, but he, too, is overrated. The list goes on. The bottom line is that almost every person that people call the best of all time usually isn’t. We’ll see in 2025 and beyond if Ohtani will live up to his hype, but I sure wouldn’t want to be the Dodgers in 2035, who will have to dish out 68 million dollars a year to Shohei for an empty roster spot.


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