Here are four reasons why Shohei Ohtani was named MLB Pipeline's No. 1 prospect
MLB Network counted down MLB Pipeline's latest Top 100 prospects list on Saturday night, and as usual, it featured a little bit of everything -- drama, suspense, the innate satisfaction of ranking things and, of course, lots of very good baseball players.
While this year's edition featured stars-in-the-making like Ronald Acuna, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (yes, we are all old) and
Sure, his swing can get a little bit long. And sure, he'll probably take a little time to adjust to Major League pitching. But Ohtani hit .286/.358/.500 over his five seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball -- from ages 18 to 22, remember -- and it's always a good idea to bet on the kind of power that ballparks physically cannot contain:
Of course, for most prospects, projecting to be a 25-homer hitter in the Major Leagues would be the highlight of the profile. Ohtani, as you probably know by now, is not most prospects. As good as he is with the bat, he might be even better on the mound: He posted a 2.69 ERA as a starter in Japan, striking out 624 batters in 543 innings -- and with a fastball like this, it's not hard to see why.
He's already shined on the big stage
Even the best prospects require some projection -- they're still young, after all, and there's just no telling how things will pan out. That is, unless said prospect comes with the added benefit of already being a champion.
When Ohtani's Nippon Ham Fighters fell behind, two games to none, in the 2016 Japan Series, the righty sparked a comeback. Starting at DH in Game 3, Ohtani banged out three hits, scoring and driving in a run in an extra-innings win. The Fighters eventually rallied to capture their second-ever Japan Series title, and Ohtani hit .375/.412/.625 with four doubles. Not bad for a 22-year-old.
All the intangibles
But Ohtani is so much more than a mere baseball player. The Angels will also get a polished stand-up comedian:
A fashion trendsetter:
And, most importantly, arguably the best dancer in baseball: