New ‘Clean Home Run King’ challenge, 3 challenges for Otani

Can Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) claim the title of “Clean Slugger?” Ohtani leads both major leagues with 35 home runs as of Aug. 20. If he hits 28 more home runs in the remaining 65 games, he will break the American League (AL) home run record set by Aaron Judge (New York Yankees) last year in one year.

Last season, Judge hit 62 home runs. It took him 61 years to break Roger Maris’ 1961 record of 61 home runs.스포츠토토

There are three other players in the National League (NL) who have hit more home runs in a single season – Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire – but all of them were involved in banned substance allegations. That’s why it’s often said that the true home run king is Jersey.

Right now, Ohtani’s home run pace isn’t much different than what it was last season. Through 97 games, Ohtani has 35 homers, while Judge hit 37 last season. Here’s the catch. Over his final 65 games, Judge hit 27 home runs. At 0.41 home runs per game, he picked up the pace at the end of the season. If Ohtani wants to surpass him, he’ll need to hit 0.43 home runs per game for the rest of the season. It’s an even more daunting task for Ohtani, who is already physically demanding as a two-hitter.

He’ll also have to overcome pitcher’s block. The Angels’ center field lineup was significantly shorthanded when slugger Mike Trout went down with a broken bone on May 5. Opposing pitchers won’t want to go toe-to-toe with Ohtani. Ohtani started in the No. 2 spot against the Yankees at home, but went 1-for-4 with four strikeouts.

The biggest variable is the possibility of a trade for Ohtani. The Angels beat the Yankees 7-3 on Sunday to move to 49-48 and over the .500 mark, but they are already nine games behind first-place Texas.

With the Angels’ postseason chances dwindling, speculation continues that Ohtani, who is in the final year of his contract, will eventually be traded. If an in-season move becomes a reality, it’s unclear how it would affect his home run pace. A move to the NL, which keeps seasonal records, would eliminate the possibility of an AL home run record.

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