Which two-way performance has been more impressive this season: Travis Hunter or Shohei Ohtani’s?
Both players are pulling off distinct feats in their respective sports. On one hand, Hunter has been making plays left and right as a wide receiver and cornerback in college football for Colorado and previously Jackson State. Meanwhile, Ohtani has dazzled the MLB scene as both a hitter and starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, most notably winning the 2021 American League MVP and being the runner-up for the award last season.
On Friday’s edition of “Undisputed,” Skip Bayless argued that Ohtani has the edge on Hunter.
“With Ohtani, you can already make the case he’s the greatest all-around baseball player we have ever seen because this is impossibly great on both sides,” Bayless said. “You’ve got serious Babe Ruth-ian power. He was 10-5 as a starting pitcher this year, and he tore his elbow up, so he’s shelved for the rest of the year. But he’s 38-19 as a starting pitcher in big-league baseball.
“What’s the hardest thing to do in sports? To me, it’s to hit that 95 mph pitch; it’s just hard, man. He can do that, and the second-hardest thing to do is throw it at 95 mph and finesse it, take something off it, throw a curveball, changeup and paint the black as they say and hit your spots.”
Ohtani is in the midst of another MVP-caliber campaign. At the plate, he has totaled an MLB-high 44 home runs and eight triples and 95 RBIs while boasting a .304/.412/.654 slash line. Prior to going down with a torn UCL in his throwing arm, Ohtani posted a 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 167 strikeouts across 132.0 innings (23 starts).
Ohtani is a free agent after this season and is expected to leave the Angels, whom he began his MLB career with in 2018. Los Angeles entered Friday 12.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the No. 3 AL wild-card seed.
Bayless’ cohost, Keyshawn Johnson, agreed with the notion that Ohtani’s success is a tad better than Hunter’s.
“He [Ohtani] was the 2021 MVP,” Johnson began. “He fanned Mike Trout in the World Baseball Classic; got on the mound and fanned him. Get out of here, blow you right down. His career ERA, he’s at 3.01. Ridiculous. His batting average is .274; that’s hard to do. When you got to pitch and swing at the same time, you’re gassing 90-plus mph when you’re throwing. If you just move to this year, he [has] been doing a lot with an injury. …
“If he decided to pick one, he’d be one of the all-time greats, and he still may be one of the all-time greats doing both.”
[Related: College football’s top two-way players of the past 30 years]
This past weekend, Hunter — the former No. 1 recruit in the country — put on a show in the Buffaloes’ 45-42 win over TCU, playing an eye-popping 145 snaps and reeling in 11 catches for 119 yards and pulling off a sensational diving interception. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound superstar is a true sophomore and won’t be eligible for the NFL Draft until 2025.
Hunter and Colorado will aim to start the 2023 season 2-0 when they host Nebraska on “Big Noon Kickoff” on Saturday (12 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).
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