Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is on the cover of the baseball preview issue of Sports Illustrated, the magazine revealed on Tuesday.
Ohtani shares the cover with new Dodgers acquisition Mookie Betts, part of a series of regional covers that include Javier Baez and Tim Anderson in Chicago, plus Pete Alonso and Gleyber Torres in New York.
One might wonder why Mike Trout, the reigning American League MVP and the consensus best player in baseball, didn’t make the SI cover. But this is part of a “20 for the ‘20s” series, highlighting younger players who will shine from 2020-29. Trout is just 28, but it’s understandable why the 25-year old Ohtani was chosen in a year in which he will get back to both pitching and hitting in the same year, a truly unique player for the sport.
It’s just worth noting when folks lament that the best player in baseball doesn’t get promoted enough, that it’s not always in Trout’s control.
As for Ohtani, Tom Verducci wrote an accompanying profile that says the Angels two-way star could be the modern Babe Ruth:
“He is a generational talent,” says a general manager who tried to sign Ohtani out of high school. “You’re going to look back 30 or 40 years from now and say, ‘There was only one Shohei Ohtani.’”