Shohei Ohtan historic 2021 cover of MLB

Following a historic 2021 campaign for which he was named American League Most Valuable Player, Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani will grace the cover of MLB The Show 22, Sony announced on Monday.

The cover reveal was a memorable one, taking place on a huge 3D billboard in New York City’s Times Square. After a countdown ended at noon ET, the screen fell away to show Ohtani highlights and the cover of the new game, which features images of him hitting and pitching.

Fans can pre-order MLB The Show 22 now ahead of its April 5 launch. The game will be available on PlayStation 4 and 5; Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One; and — for the first time — Nintendo Switch.

In 2021, Ohtani posted a .965 OPS with 46 home runs, an MLB-leading eight triples and 26 stolen bases, an offensive performance that in itself would merit MVP Award consideration. But that was just half of the story. The 27-year-old also made 23 starts on the mound for the Halos, recording a 3.18 ERA while striking out 29 percent of the batters he faced.

The AL MVP honor added another accolade for Ohtani, who previously won the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Award. Prior to signing with the Angels, he was a sensation in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization from 2013-17.

Ohtani is the latest in a long line of stars who have been featured on the game’s cover. Last year, Fernando Tatis Jr. became the youngest player to be The Show’s cover athlete. Others who have been on the cover since the game debuted in 2006 include Javier Báez, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Ken Griffey Jr., Josh Donaldson, Yasiel Puig, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Adrián González, Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Howard, David Wright and David Ortiz.

Shohei Ohtani revealed to Sam Blum of The Athletic that he and the LA Angels had no extension discussions before the MLB lockout.

This comes as a little bit of a surprise, as the Angels weren’t as active in free agency as the offseason went on before the lockout happened. It appeared that maybe they had switched some of their focus to an Ohtani extension, but apparently that is not the case.

I have no problem with the LA Angels not extending Shohei Ohtani this offseason if they spend their energy building a better roster after this lockout ends. The lockout may stretch for much longer, so they might not get as long of an offseason to both improve the roster significantly AND extend 2021’s best player. If they don’t go out and bring in another major starting pitching name and multiple productive bullpen guys, then I expect them to have stayed productive by at least extending Ohtani.

If they haven’t extended the 2021 unanimous AL MVP, AND not improved the roster so that the team can win now with both Ohtani and Trout in their primes, then it absolutely needs to be considered a failure of an offseason. Ohtani made it very clear that he wants to win above anything else, so if we don’t extend him and then roll into the season with a roster that doesn’t at LEAST make the postseason, we could be in trouble.

This is why the franchise needs to find a way for Ohtani to commit to the Angels long-term now. If not, they need to promise to him that he’ll get what he wants more than anything; a supporting cast that’s ready to win right now.

When Shohei Ohtani entered the 2021 season, it was unknown what to expect from him. He’d won American League Rookie of the Year in 2018, but his following two seasons were plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness.

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