Popular sports analyst (or some would say talking head) Stephen A. Smith disagrees but the reality is that Ohtani is one of baseball’s biggest stars right now. More people bought his jersey than any other player in MLB in 2022. This made him the first Japanese player ever to outsell his rivals as he showed that he was a market force to be reckoned with.
This is even more impressive when we consider what Aaron Judge achieved for the more popular Yankees. The Angels aren’t even the biggest franchise in L.A. but Ohtani makes people care. That’s why many MLB organizations won’t blink about handing him a record-breaking contract (via Japan Times).