Shohei Ohtani to start as pitcher, bat leadoff in 2021 MLB All-Star Game

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Ohtani to start as pitcher, bat leadoff in 2021 MLB All-Star Game originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Shohei Ohtani is ready to steal the show at the 2021 MLB All-Star festivities.

The Los Angeles Angels phenom is the top draw for Monday’s Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver, but he will follow that up with a historic day at the All-Star Game.

Ohtani became MLB’s first two-way All-Star earlier this month, getting voted into the contest as both a starting pitcher and designated hitter. On Monday, American League manager Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays announced that Ohtani will be the team’s starting pitcher and leadoff batter in the Midsummer Classic.

Ohtani’s All-Star Game will begin in the batter’s box, where he will battle National League starting pitcher Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals to kick off the contest. He will then head to the mound for the bottom of the first to face off against San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Max Muncy and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado.

“It’s my first time, so I just want to enjoy everything,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara on Monday. “There’s also the Home Run Derby, so I’m looking forward to taking it all in and enjoying everything.”

At the plate, Ohtani is batting .279 with 70 RBIs and a league-leading 33 home runs on the season. On the mound, he is 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts. On top of that, he leads the majors with five home runs projected to go over 450 feet and has the third-fastest pitch speed (101.1 mph) of any MLB starting pitcher this season.

Ohtani is a +220 favorite to win Monday’s derby, according to our partner, PointsBet. As the top seed, he will be matched up against Nationals outfielder Juan Soto in the first round of the event.

Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.