The legend of Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels phenom, continues to grow on a near-nightly basis. He’s doing things that no one has seen anyone else do on a baseball field in decades. In fact, it is because of his meteoric rise that he is constantly being compared to the late, great Babe Ruth.
Shohei Ohtani is Transforming Into The Modern-Day Babe Ruth
In his first start on the mound in this Major League Baseball (MLB) season, Ohtani had already hit a home run in his first at-bat from the No. 2 spot. In addition to that, he struck out 10 hitters in just a few games and then played right field. And he is currently one of the top-scoring athletes in the MLB with 34 home runs in the current season so far.
Ohtani has also had a .950 OPS, a .672 slugging percentage, as well as stolen more than six bases in the season.
One of the most recent achievements of the rising phenom was when he homered off a pitch that was 4.19 feet above the ground. This was one of the second-highest pitches anyone has hit out of the park this season. And it is also the highest pitch by any player in Anaheim since pitch-tracking began to take place in 2008.
Here are more statistics about Ohtani that are absolutely impressive in the best way:
- Ohtani has hit 61 home runs since transferring to the United States from the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan in 201 and has whiffed a decent 111 hitters on the mound.
- He is also the fifth player in MLB history to hit 60 home runs and strike out 100 hitters.
- With his latest achievements, he now joins the hallowed ranks of legends in the sport such as Babe Ruth (714 home runs, 488 strikeouts), George Van Haltren (69 home runs, 281 strikeouts), Rick Ankiel (76 home runs, 269 strikeouts), and Johnny Lindell (72 home runs, 146 strikeouts).
- In addition, Ohtani and Ankiel are the only two players to achieve this feat since 1954.
Moreover, what sets the 26-year-old apart from the rest of his peers is the ability to seemingly adjust to any situation with ease. The players who aren’t able to do so aren’t likely to stay in the big leagues. And in the case of Ohtani, he has not only made the necessary adjustments but also made himself better by adding to his skillset — even through the injuries.
As a matter of fact, Ohtani is adding pitches and adjusting his swing to handle North American pitches. In a losing game against Cleveland, Ohtani’s pitch velocity dipped into the low 90s, which was well below the season average of 96mph. This was certainly a cause for concern for analysts due to his injury history though Angels manager, Joe Maddon downplayed this fact by saying Ohtani “just didn’t have it” at the time.
But Ohtani managed to work around his weak points by developing a new cutter in the abovementioned game against Cleveland. He limited the opposition to two earned runs on five hits, walked two, and struck out five over 4.2 innings. The Angels still lost in the end. And a playoff snub may even be possible at the rate they’re playing. But their misfortunes certainly came with some silver lining as its star player Ohtani is being given the well-deserved spotlight in the eyes of fans, sports analysts, and his teammates. Indeed, the Sho is just getting started.