“If I can hit the ball, I think I can do well in the big leagues,” Mariners rookie pitcher Shohei Ohtani reportedly said before signing with Seattle in December. “That is the only reason I came to America.”
You’d think it’d be near impossible to hit .400 in Major League Baseball. You’d be wrong. Shohei Ohtani did it in 2017. In fact, he did better than that. Ohtani was 10 for 18 with a walk at the dish that last homestand of the season, giving him an astounding .500 batting average. In a 20-game stretch, he hit .341, smacking 10 HRs with 29 RBIs. (He also got to pitch!)
Did you know there’s a pitcher in the MLB whose overall talent is so outstanding that he’s been able to compile a 0.5 WAR in just nine games? That’s right, Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Shohei Ohtani has been so good that he has already been worth more wins than every other MLB pitcher who played a full season in 2017.
Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Angels already had an outstanding talent in their lineup with the signing of Shohei Ohtani. At that point, Mike Trout had proven that he was the best all-around player in baseball. But even a future Hall of Fame member can only do as much as his Japanese-born teammate can do. In fact, even in a league that features some all-time greats who excel at – and – pitching, Ohtani still stands alone. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but in his case, two simple statistics show why the 26-year-old is the scariest talent in MLB history.
Many Hall of Fame players had success as a pitcher before changing positions
On this day in 1914, Babe Ruth made his MLB debut as a pitcher for the Red Sox, who allowed just 2 runs in 7 innings in a 4-3 victory over Cleveland. Ruth played 89-46 as a pitcher for the 1914-19 Red Sox, after which he gained fame as the best player on a Yankees team. pic.twitter.com/RpIKY6DFnb – ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 11, 2020 COMPARED TO: Babe Ruth and the 17-year-old who beat him in four innings Long before Ohtani moved his talents from Japan to the United States, Babe Ruth became the most recognizable name in baseball. While the big bambino has been praised for his ability to hit the ball out of the park, he has also excelled at taking players out of the game. Ruth was an original member of the Boston Red Sox organization and performed well as a pitcher. In 1916, he led the league in ERA (1.75), starts (40) and shutouts (nine). The following year, he set records for wins (24) and innings pitched (326 1/3). Once Ruth showed his strength, he was moved to the outfield. This transition has allowed him to accumulate great stats as a player. The Baltimore native retired with a .342 batting average, along with 714 home runs, 2,214 RBIs and 2,174 runs scored. Stan Musial, who is not far behind Ruth with a career batting average of .331, was also in the field. The three-time National League MVP earned a 33-13 record as a junior. But in the end, he played 2,036 games in the Major Leagues as an outfielder and first baseman. Musial has only faced one drummer in his two-decade career.
Shohei Ohtani’s 2021 stats show why he is the scariest talent in MLB history
COMPARED TO: Shohei Ohtani outlined a Hall of Fame-worthy plan as a teenager The game of baseball has changed over the years. Athletes are bigger, stronger and faster than ever. Analysis is the basis for many decisions. And the way players are placed has also become more specialized. Which brings us to Ohtani. As a designated hitter who also throws at the top level, he is a completely unique individual. At 6-foot-9 and 80 pounds, he has an imposing, powerful physique that allows him to do major damage from the strike zone and stun hitters from the mound. Although he’s had his ups and downs in the first three years of his MLB career (last season he hit .190), Ochtani seems unstoppable this season. You only have to look at his stats to understand why he is the scariest talent in league history. Ohtani currently leads all Major Leagues with 13 home runs. When you consider that he also has another professional job, it’s incredibly impressive. He also has a 2.10 ERA, which is tied for 10th with triple Cy Young Max Scherzer. Not bad for a part-time pitcher who struck out 40 batters in only 25 2/3 innings. Given his low ERA and high number of home runs in the league, it’s clear that Ohtani has unique skills. Will it surpass Ruth’s performance? Not at all. But his ability to impact the game as a batter, pitcher and runner (35 stolen bases in 292 games) makes the Angels star the most dangerous talent in history. And since he doesn’t turn 27 until July, Ohtani still has room to grow.
Can Ohtani continue his blazing pace and secure the AL MVP title?
Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani looks on during the first inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox. | Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images COMPARED TO: Ronald Acuna Jr. has just taken Barry Bond’s place in the MLBrecord book. Will Ohtani’s magical season end with his first MVP award? This seems more likely by the day. His .263 batting average will not affect voters. As is his on-base percentage of .313. But if his batting average doesn’t drop, Ohtani can threaten with 40 home runs and 100 RBI. That alone makes him a strong candidate for MVP. If he continues to pitch well the rest of the season, it will only strengthen his position. But Ohtani can’t afford a setback. Several other stars are in the running for the Player of the Year award. Trout has a .333 batting average and a .624 slugging percentage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could get the first of many MVP awards if he continues his early season momentum. In 39 games, the 22-year-old is hitting .319 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI. In addition, Byron Buxton, Jose Ramirez and J.D. Martinez have already reached peak performance in mid-May. It will be interesting to see if Ohtani can continue to clear long balls and hit batters with relative ease. When this happens all season, it’s frightening to think what the future holds. All statistics are from Baseball Reference.It’s no secret Shohei Ohtani is a great baseball player. And it’s also no secret that great baseball players don’t always make great pitchers. Even in today’s game, where the best bats in the league are hitting more home runs than ever (maybe because of a juiced ball?), it’s still the pitchers who strike fear in the hearts of baseball fans. But Ohtani, who has both power and control, is something else. Through his first two starts as a major league player, Ohtani has struck out 24 batters. To put that into perspective, no pitcher has struck out that many batters in a two-. Read more about shohei ohtani 2021 and let us know what you think.
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