Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani will participate in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver on July 12, he announced Friday.
The two-way star has gone yard 19 times this season, so he is well on his way to surpassing his career high of 22 from his rookie season in 2018. His total ranks third in MLB behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., who have 22 apiece.
Ohtani, who is the first confirmed participant in the competition, is slashing .270/.354/.615, and he's 3-1 on the bump with a 2.70 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.
According to Baseball Savant, Ohtani would have 17 home runs this season if he played all his games at Coors Field.
He's a near lock to participate in the All-Star Game itself since he easily outpaced Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez to hold the American League's designated hitter spot when the first set of vote totals was released Monday.
A second voting period opens June 27.
Angels manager Joe Maddon hinted Monday that he wasn't opposed to Ohtani's taking part in the Home Run Derby.
"I'm not as against that as others," Maddon told reporters. "I just don't like it when it becomes never-ending. You know, there's got to be a more finite method of doing this. It is exhausting. It can be exhausting. But again, that would be something that I would want to ask him how he felt about it. He will be honest. I don't think this is something you want to attempt to force him to do or not to do."
The only way this could be more fun is if Ohtani could put all his talents on display and played both sides of the ball in the All-Star Game. For now, we can at least count on seeing him at the Home Run Derby.