Dave Roberts: Shohei Ohtani ‘On Another Level’ For Dodgers

June has been an incredible month for two of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ superstars in Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani.

Both have broken out of extended slumps to be MVP-caliber players for manager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers. However, it’s Ohtani that has been the standout given his very recent performance.

Freeman’s June — the 25 games from June 1-29 — has seen him post a slash line of .326/.423/.630 with a 1.053 OPS. He has walked (16) more than he’s struck out (13) and has 15 extra-base hits with six homers. By any measure, that is an elite month and a true return-to-form for one of the games most consistent hitters.

But it somehow pales in comparison to Ohtani’s last two weeks.

In Ohtani’s last 15 games, he has a slash line of .370/.500/.926 for an absurd 1.426 OPS. He has nine homers, 18 RBI and 15 walks He earned Player of the Week honors for the week of June 22, and is on pace to do so again this week.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted how impressive Freeman has been, but it’s impossible to ignore what Ohtani has done over the past two weeks, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“If Shohei wasn’t doing what he’s doing, Freddie would be in the conversation for Player of the Week the last few weeks. But Shohei is on another level right now,” Roberts said.

With both the Dodgers healthy superstars firing on all cylinders, L.A. is 16-9 since the start of June. They are 8-4 since losing Mookie Betts indefinitely with a fractured hand, as Freeman and Ohtani have carried the load.

If Ohtani continues to play at the pace that he has been, he could be in serious consideration to win the National League MVP from the designated hitter position. It would mark the first time in MLB history that a DH has won the league’s most prestigious award, and since Ohtani has already done the seemingly impossible so often, it would be fitting.

Ohtani also has triple crown potential, as he currently leads the NL in batting average (.321) and home runs (26), while ranking third in RBI, just five spots away from a tie for first.

Shohei Ohtani swinging at the right strikes

Part of what Roberts believes is contributing to Ohtani’s success stems from starting to swing at the right strikes and not chasing at pitches that are within the strike zone but out of his comfort zone.

He also believes the move to the lead-off spot was very natural for Ohtani and has allowed him to continue building on that success.

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