Is Shohei Ohtani justifying Dave Roberts' bold Barry Bonds comparisons?

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages
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Well before Shohei Ohtani had even so much as swung a bat in a game for the Dodgers, Dave Roberts compared him to his own former teammate Barry Bonds, but also said that Ohtani had the opportunity to be even better. It was partly because of Ohtani's baseball skill and partly a thinly-veiled shot at Bonds' reputation for being a diva and a bad teammate.

Ohtani seems to make it a mission to be the best possible teammate on top of being one of the best hitters in the league. He buys his teammates' wives Porsches, he and his wife pass off bobblehead night first-pitch duties to kids, and then he gets onto the field and leads all of baseball in average and OPS.

During the Dodgers' trip to San Francisco last week, Ohtani hit a 446-foot home run to spark what would become a 10-run rout of the Giants, and the ball landed just shy of McCovey Cove.

Postgame, Dave Roberts doubled down on his Ohtani-Bonds comparison, saying, "That's Barry territory. There aren’t too many guys that can do that."

Dave Roberts doubled down on his Shohei Ohtani-Barry Bonds comparison after Ohtani's mammoth home run at Oracle Park

Given the way Ohtani has been hitting, meeting Bonds' seven-time MVP benchmark doesn't seem incredibly farfetched. Multiple Ohtani home runs lead the Dodgers' hard-hit leaderboards since Statcast was invented, he's second in home runs in the NL behind Marcell Ozuna, second in RBI on the Dodgers, and his OPS rose above 1.000 on April 8 and hasn't dipped for even a single game since then.

In terms of award conversation, Ohtani is neck-and-neck with teammate Mookie Betts in FanGraphs WAR (and awards voters do love WAR), and while Betts has the benefit of playing a position versus Ohtani's pure DH'ing, Ohtani also has an argument because he's been able to accumulate that amount of WAR even without playing the field.

Potential accolades aside, Ohtani does seem even more untouchable than Bonds. Since being cleared of wrongdoing in the federal investigation of his former interpreter and friend Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani has retaken his place as MLB's Golden Boy with his legacy perfectly intact despite the hiccup. Performance-wise, the only thing that could hammer home the Ohtani-Bonds comparison more would be for Ohtani miraculously break Bonds' home run record (or even look close to touching) -- which we can't entirely rule out.

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