With the midway point of the MLB season past us, we have a large enough sample size to determine who have been the defining players of 2023 so far.

Most of the names should not surprise you, as they tend to be perennial All-Stars who help thrust their respective teams into contention.

We start with the game's biggest star, Angels ace pitcher and top slugger Shohei Ohtani. Not enough can be said about him, so allow us to say even more here.

But we also take a look at a couple of rookies, and some emerging stars with new roles and a clean bill of health to make them some of the most defining players of the season.

Feel free to compare lists.


Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani simply has no contemporaries. There are no parallels and there is no context.

It is now the third consecutive season of the full Shohei Ohtani experience, where he hits better than most of the batters he faces and pitches better than most of the hurlers he sees from the batter's box.

The 29-year-old was the AL MVP in 2021, and it took Aaron Judge breaking a 60-year-old AL home run record to keep him from winning it again last season.

Through 330 at-bats, Ohtani leads MLB in OPS, slugging, home runs and tied for the lead in triples. He's also tied for the second most RBI.

On the pitching side, he has the second-lowest batting average against and ranks third in strikeouts per nine innings.

Ohtani is the best player in baseball for a third consecutive season, could make the postseason for the first time in his career and is expected to shatter contract records in free agency this offseason.

The game may be bigger than one person, but this is the guy.