Wesley McFann unfolds Shohei Ohtani’s quest for the elusive Triple Crown

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As everyone knows, Shohei Ohtani has been making headlines in 2023. Not only is he impressive on the mound, he’s also a serious threat in the box. With an incredible 41 home runs, and 84 runs batted in, one could make the argument that he is the most dominant offensive player this year. That brings up the question – can he achieve something even more significant?

The Triple Crown is earned when a player leads the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs and it is truly a historic accomplishment. It was last earned by Miguel Cabrera in his 2012 season with the Detroit Tigers where he finished the season with a .330 average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs. Before him, the last time it had been done was in 1967, nearly 60 years ago.

Ohtani is currently sitting on a .302 average, 41 home runs, and 84 RBIs. To keep this succinct we will focus on his average. Luis Arraez, who is the current league leader in batting average is hitting an incredible .363 with only 6 more at bats, in 4 fewer games than Ohtani. With about 45 games left for them both, and assuming 4 at bats per game, that gives Shohei 180 chances to surpass Arraez.

Arraez would need to hit a measly .200 for the rest of the season, and his average would still be above Ohtani’s at .316. Ohtani would have to hit .355 for the rest of his plate appearances to make that .317 mark and overtake Arraez. To simplify that a little bit, the current league leader in batting average would have to hit 36 out of 180 (.200) and Ohtani would have to hit 64 out of 180 (.355) for this to come out in Ohtani’s favor. This is only one of the three stats needed to secure this coveted achievement. Ohtani is currently 24 RBIs away from overtaking the lead in the RBI category, which also lowers the probability for him.

As much as we can all agree that Shohei Ohtani is an incredible baseball player, and likely one of the best two-way players our generation has ever witnessed, simple math brings the likelihood of him winning the Triple Crown to an unfortunate fate. He has broken many records that have held since Babe Ruth was playing, and that was a completely different era in baseball history. The fact that Ohtani is doing it in this age of baseball is historic enough and may not ever happen again.