Shohei Ohtani...Father, Toru, played baseball for a semipro team sponsored by the local Mitsubishi plant in Ōshū, Japan...Mother, Kayoko, was a competitive badminton player...In Dec. 2017, a limited edition Ohtani baseball card sold 17,323 copies in 24 hours, setting a new Topps Now record...Featured in a segment on "60 Minutes" on CBS in 2017...Was on 28-man roster for Japan's team at 2017 World Baseball Classic, but withdrew due to an ankle injury...Played for Japanese National Team in 2015 Premier 12...During start against eventual champion South Korea, carried a no-hitter into 7th inning...Named All-Star starting pitcher for the event...Following 2014 season, selected to Japanese national team, Samurai Japan, and participated in All-Star Series against a team of Major League All-Stars...Was starting pitcher Nov. 18, 2014 at Sapporo Dome, opposing Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker, who started for MLB...Wore jersey number 11 with Fighters, previously worn by Yu Darvish...Attended Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate Prefecture...Participated in National High School Baseball Championship in 2011 and National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament in 2012...Favorite hitter is Hideki Matsui and favorite pitcher is Yu Darvish..."Sho" from his given name comes from a soaring image of the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189), who is associated with the Ōshū and Hiraizumi areas, while "hei" comes from a reading of the first kanji character used in the name "Hiraizumi."
Spent second season with the Angels serving as the Club's primary DH...Surpassed rookie offensive totals in games, hits, triples, RBI and stolen bases...Led the Club with 12 steals....Joined Hideki Matsui and Tadahito Iguchi as the only Japanese natives to tally multiple 15 home run seasons in the Majors...On June 13th, became the 7th player (8th occurrence) in franchise history to hit for the cycle…First Halo to turn the trick since Mike Trout, May 21, 2013 vs. Seattle…First Japanese-born player in Major League history to hit for the cycle…Had never hit for the cycle in career (including NPB)...Joined Hall of Famer George Sisler (5 wins, 2 cycles) as the only players in the modern era (since 1900) to win multiple games as a pitcher and also hit for the cycle in career...Missed the first 34 games of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery...Activated from the I.L. May 7th.
In first season with Angels, was named American League Rookie of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) after finishing with 137 points in the balloting process, including 25 of 30 first place votes... Became third player in Angels history to earn Rookie of the Year honors, joining Tim Salmon (1993) and Mike Trout (2012)...Became fourth Japanese-born player to win a Rookie of the Year Award in Major Leagues, joining Hideo Nomo (1995), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001)... Named American League Rookie of the Month in April and September... Earned American League Player of the Week honors twice (April 2-8 and Sept. 3-9)... Became first player in Major League history to hit 15+ HR and compile 50+ pitching strikeouts in a season... Joined Babe Ruth (1918 & 1919) as the only players since 1900 with 10+ HR and 4+ wins as a pitcher in a single campaign. Ruth is also the only other player to hit 15+ home runs and pitch 50+ innings in a season... Established new home run record for a Japanese-born rookie (previous was 18 by Kenji Johjima in 2006)... Is the first player since Jimmy Ryan of the 1888 Chicago White Stockings to record 15+ home runs, 10+ stolen bases and three pitching appearances in a single season... Led all American League rookies with a combined 3.8 fWAR... Became first player to start as a pitcher and a non-pitcher within same season since Rick Rhoden (Yankees) in 1988 (30 starts as pitcher, one as DH). (STATS LLC).... Had the eighth most popular (4th in A.L.) selling player jersey according to MLB.
Led A.L. rookies (min. 300 PA) in OPS (.925), on-base percentage (.361), and slugging percentage (.564) and posted the best rates of at-bats per home run (14.82) and RBI (5.34)... Became the seventh rookie in American League history to post a .925 OPS with 10 stolen bases in a single season, joining Mike Trout (2012), Mitchell Page (1977), Fred Lynn (1975), Earl Averill (1929), Ben Paschal (1925) and Shoeless Joe Jackson (1911)... Is just the second Japanese native with a 20 home run season, joining Hideki Matsui (5 times, once in 2010 with the Angels) and the only native of Japan with a 20 HR/10 SB campaign... Joined Devon White (1987) and Mike Trout (2012) as the only rookies in Club annals with a 20 HR/10 SB rookie campaign... Earned first career win April 1st and then hit a home run in his next start April 3rd...Was the first player to earn a win and then homer in his next start as a non-pitcher since Babe Ruth in 1921... 15 of 22 home runs came after the All-Star break, tied for third most in the A.L...Only rookie in franchise history to hit more homers after the break was Mike Trout in 2012 (18 HR)... Collected first hit in first start as a position player, March 29 at Oakland.
Set Angels record with 63 strikeouts through first 10 career starts (previous was 56 strikeouts by Bo Belinsky in 1962)... Held opponents to an .036 (2/55) batting average against his splitter...Opponents had a swing and miss rate of 55.8% against the splitter and he recorded 35 of 63 strikeouts with the pitch... Became third pitcher all-time with 11-or-more strikeouts in two of first six career games pitched, joining Brooklyn's Karl Spooner (1954) & Cubs Kerry Wood (1998)... Carried perfect game into 7th inning Apr. 8 vs. Oakland in first pitching start at Angel Stadium...Had stretch of 27 consecutive batters retired between starts on Apr. 1 & Apr. 8 (both vs. A's)... Had average fastball velocity of 96.7 MPHcTopped 98 MPH with 110 of 396 fastballs, including seven pitches at 100+ MPH... Recorded 57 of 63 (90.5%) strikeouts on a swinging strike three, which was the highest rate in Majors (min. 50 IP). Among MLB pitchers to make at least five starts, his 35.1% swing and miss rate led the Majors... In five starts in day games, went 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA (33 IP - 8 ER) with 44 strikeouts... Allowed three-or-fewer runs in nine of 10 starts overall.
In fifth season with Nippon-Ham Fighters, posted career-high .332 batti ng average (67/202) ... Started All-Star Game for Pacific League as designated hitter ... Limited to 65 games at designated hitter and five starts as a pitcher due to an ankle injury ... Signed with Angels as international free agent, Dec. 9, 2017 ... Named by Baseball America as Angels' top prospect entering 2018 and is rated as #2 prospect in all of baseball ... Designated as the #1 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com for the 2018 campaign.
Named Pacific League Most Valuable Player and helped lead Nippon-Ham Fighters to the Pacific League Championship ... Posted a career-best 1.86 ERA (140 IP - 29 ER)...Finished three innings pitched shy of qualifying for league leaders, and would have led Pacific League in ERA for second consecutive season if he qualified...Also registered 174 strikeouts (third most in league) in his 21 games (20 starts) on the mound ... Registered finest season at the plate, batting .322 (104/323) with 18 doubles, 22 home runs and 67 RBI in 104 total games, primarily as a designated hitter ... Honored with Best Nine Award as a pitcher and as a designated hitter ... Started at designated hitter for Pacific League in All-Star Game and earned MVP honors after going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
In third season with Nippon-Ham Fighters, was selected to start All-Star Game as a pitcher for second consecutive season ... Finished year leading Pacific League in wins (15), ERA (2.24), complete games (five) and shutouts (three)...Ranked second in league in strikeouts (196) ... Earned first Best Nine Award as top pitcher in Pacific League ... Finished third in MVP voti ng behind Yuki Yanagita and Shogo Akiyama...Was a finalist for the Sawamura Award, given annually to top pitcher in Pacifi c and Central Leagues ... Along with catcher, Shota Ono, earned Pacific League Battery Award.
With Nippon-Ham Fighters, became first Japanese player to reach double digits in both home runs (10) and wins (11) ... Became first pitcher drafted out of high school to notch two shutout victories within his first two years in NPB since Yu Darvish ... Was starting pitcher for Pacific League in All-Star Game and established record for fastest pitch (101 mph) thrown by a Japanese pitcher.
Made Pacific League debut at age 18 with Nippon-Ham Fighters Mar. 29, 2013 on Opening Day as a right fielder ... Became first NPB pitcher since Takao Kajimoto in 1963 to bat 3rd, 4th or 5th in the order and first rookie hurler to do so since Junzo Sekine in 1950 ... Voted by fans into All-Star Game ... Finished second in NPB Rookie of the Year Award voting, behind Takahiro Norimoto ... Led Fighters with 51 games played in right field and also made 11 starts as a pitcher ... Briefly missed time during year with a right ankle sprain and right cheekbone fracture.