ANAHEIM -- The home runs kept coming in 2021 for two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, as he smacked 46 blasts to finish third in the Majors behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Salvador Perez, who both hit 48.
It was the second-highest home run total in Angels history behind only the 47 homers hit by Troy Glaus in 2000. And, of course, Ohtani also led the league with eight triples, stole 26 bases and went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings on the mound.
Add it all up and Ohtani is the favorite for the American League MVP Award, with the winner set to be announced on Nov. 11. With that in mind, here’s a look back at Ohtani’s top five homers of the season:
1. April 4 vs. White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease at Angel Stadium
It was just the second homer of the season for Ohtani but foreshadowed his historic season to come. Ohtani made his first start of the year on the mound, reaching 100 mph nine times, and then in his first at-bat after a scoreless first inning, he absolutely crushed a solo homer off Cease on a first-pitch fastball that left that bat at 115.2 mph and went a projected 451 feet to right field. It was the hardest-hit blast by any Angels player since Statcast was introduced in 2015 and came on a day in which Ohtani became the first player since 1903 to serve as starting pitcher and bat second in a game.
2. July 9 vs. Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales at T-Mobile Park
This one showed off Ohtani’s immense power, as he obliterated a solo homer into the third deck in right field at T-Mobile Park. It’s an area that had only been reached six times since the ballpark debuted in 1999. It was projected at 463 feet with an exit velocity of 116.5 mph, which topped Ohtani's record-setting exit velocity on his homer on April 4.
3. June 25 vs. Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge at Tropicana Field
It was a similar homer to his memorable blast in Seattle, as he got all of it and it reached a rare part of Tropicana Field, hitting off the D-ring catwalk in right field. It was only the 39th drive in the park's 24-year history to that particular catwalk, which automatically counts as a homer. It was the first leadoff blast of Ohtani's career and had an exit velocity of 116 mph, making it the hardest-hit leadoff homer by any player since Statcast was introduced in 2015. It also went a projected 453 feet.
4. Aug. 18 vs. Tigers right-hander José Cisnero at Comerica Park
Ohtani became the first player in 2021 to reach 40 homers with a solo shot in the eighth inning, giving himself an insurance run in one of his best pitched games of the year. Ohtani went a career-high eight innings on the mound, allowing one run and striking out eight. He also became the first left-handed hitter in Angels history to reach 40 homers, as the previous high was 39 by Reggie Jackson in 1982. He became just the fourth AL pitcher to throw at least eight innings and hit a homer in a game since the DH was instituted in 1973.
5. May 16 vs. Red Sox right-hander Matt Barnes at Fenway Park
This one wasn’t crushed like the other blasts on this list, but it came in a pivotal moment, as he connected on a two-run shot to give the Angels the lead with two outs in the ninth inning at Fenway Park. It was the first go-ahead homer for the Halos with two outs in the ninth since Hank Conger on Aug. 31, 2013. Barnes couldn’t help but praise Ohtani after the game, saying, “I personally think he's the most physically gifted baseball player that we've ever seen.”