Shohei Ohtani has been the best story in Major League Baseball this season.
The Los Angeles Angels phenom is making waves on both the mound and in the batter's box. Ohtani registered his 100th strikeout of the 2021 season in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. He also has a league-high 35 home runs on the year.
After Monday's win, Angels manager Joe Maddon said he believes Ohtani is an easy choice for the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.
"To me, it's not even close," Maddon said, according to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. "When people talk about it being close -- it's not. It's not. What he's doing is so unique. It's just so different compared to anybody else right now."
Ohtani has been incredible this season, hitting .277/.361/.679 with 35 home runs and 76 RBI in 93 games. He's also 5-1 on the mound with a 3.04 ERA, 1.125 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 80 innings.
According to BetOnline.ag, Ohtani has the best odds to be named AL MVP with -125 odds. The next closest player is Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at +800.
While he's happy to be in the MVP conversation, though, Ohtani said his main focus is staying healthy and finishing out the season strong.
"I'm really happy to hear the MVP talks around me," Ohtani said through his interpreter, "but right now I haven't been able to finish both as a hitter and a pitcher in the same season, so that's my main focus -- staying healthy, finishing the season strong. If the award comes with it at the end, then I think that's the best-case scenario."