Japanese two-way prodigy Shohei Ohtani is already dominating at the Premier 12 tournament
You'd better get used to hearing the name "Shohei Ohtani" (and to bowing in his presence because he's the future overlord of Intergalactic baseball). Ohtani -- a 21-year-old two-way phenom from Japan whom you might remember from last year's Japan All-Star Series -- got the nod in Sunday's opening game of the Premier 12, an international baseball tournament featuring the top 12 national teams in the world.
After Chan Ho Park (!!!) threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Ohtani took the hill and planted a triple-digit flag on it, hitting 161 kph (100 mph) almost immediately.
He didn't surrender a hit until the fourth. Ohtani's most impressive moments, though, came in the fifth when he got out of a two-on-no-out jam by striking out the side.
Japan 3-0 Korea !! Bottom 6th pic.twitter.com/u2iLIQqkez- WBSC (@WBSC) November 8, 2015
All told, Ohtani struck out 10 batters in his six innings of work en route to a 5-0 Japan victory to open Premier 12 play, and it's easy to see how when you get a peak at his 91 mph splitter:
Sadly, he didn't get an opportunity to show off his skills at the plate -- he hit .274 with 10 home runs in the 2014 NPB season -- as teams are using a DH in Premier 12 play. Japan's next game is Nov. 11, against Mexico. Otani and Co. will play the United States on Nov. 22.
That U.S. team is mostly made up of Minor Leaguers, including Mets shortstop prospect Gavin Cecchini and Brewers outfield prospect Brett Phillips (who came over in the Carlos Gomez trade). They play their first game on Tuesday against the Dominican Republic.