With Shohei Ohtani cleared to come to MLB in 2018, watch what he can do on a baseball field
It's official -- the path has been cleared for Shohei Ohtani to come to Major League Baseball in 2018. Whoever is lucky enough to sign him will get a truly one-of-a-kind talent because Ohtani is a rare two-way player and will only be 23 on Opening Day.
Since debuting for the Nippon-Ham Fighters at the mere age of 18 in 2013, Ohtani has had more than his share of highlights. In five years of Nippon Professional Baseball play, he has recorded a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP in 543 innings, striking out a remarkable 624 batters along the way. That's good for a 10.3 K/9.
Many of those whiffs came against Ohtani's devastating slider:
Just to make things more difficult, Ohtani was also one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in Japan, too. Back in 2016, he set a NPB record with a 164 km/h fastball, roughly 101.9 mph, and he came just shy of tying that mark this past September:
Not even excellent hitters like Evan Longoria, Carlos Santana or Yasiel Puig could do much of anything when Ohtani faced a team of MLB All-Stars on Nov. 18, 2014:
That kind of repertoire would be enough to draw baseball's attention, but that's just half the fun with Ohtani. He can easily keep the ball in the park, while also sending home runs into the seats himself:
Ohtani has topped the superb .300/.400/.500 slash line in each of the past two seasons while crushing 30 dingers in 169 games. He won the 2016 NPB Home Run Derby, and one time, he even hit the ball into the roof of the Tokyo Dome:
Ohtani's hitting is so highly regarded that in 2016, the NPB named him the best pitcher AND the best DH in the Pacific League. Fittingly, in his final NPB start, Ohtani hit cleanup ... and also threw a shutout:
Oh yeah, and did we mention that on top of all that, he also has a rocket of an arm in the outfield?
Shohei Ohtani's OF throw from high school. pic.twitter.com/6Evi6RXxfc- Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) November 13, 2017
Needless to say, Adrian Gonzalez isn't the only one excited to see what Ohtani can do in the Majors.