5 facts about Ohtani's incredible first 5 starts

April 22nd, 2023

We will never cease to be amazed by . Friday’s outing against the Royals was yet another mythical installment, as Ohtani went seven scoreless innings, striking out 11 batters and allowing just two hits.

He has a 0.64 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .092 opponent batting average and .115 opponent slugging percentage. He also has four homers, including a 116.7 mph one this week at Yankee Stadium, and a hard-hit rate above 50%.

Here are five Ohtani stats to help put his greatness in context.

• As noted above, he’s allowed just an .092 opponent batting average this year. That’s the lowest in a pitcher’s first five starts in a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, per the Elias Sports Bureau (with a minimum of 10 innings pitched, to isolate traditional starters). The prior record was .102, by David Cone in 1999.

• Just to dive deeper on that batting average, let’s go to the counting stats. He’s allowed just eight hits, out of 105 batters faced. That’s the fewest in a pitcher’s first five starts of a year since at least 1901 (min. 20 innings).

• Of those eight hits, just two have gone for extra bases – both doubles. He’s allowed just a .115 opponent slugging percentage this year. And, you guessed it: that’s the lowest in a player’s first five games pitched in a season (since at least 1916, min. 20 innings).

• And this isn’t new. Ohtani has now allowed three hits or fewer in each of his last nine starts dating to last season.  That’s the second-longest such streak among traditional starters since 1893, behind only 2021 Jacob deGrom (10), per Elias.

• Ohtani now has 12 games with at least 10 strikeouts since the start of last season. That’s the most in MLB in that span. Again, this man also hits baseballs at 118-plus mph.