What makes Shohei Ohtani such a remarkable baseball player? A look at his career and stats
Shohei Ohtani has been breaking records in and out of the MLB, and after striking off USA at the WBC Championship, we know he’s not stopping anytime soon
Born July 5, 1994, in Oshu, Japan, Shohei Ohtani is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher, designated hitter, and outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). Nicknamed Shotime, the 28-year-old established himself as the sport’s greatest two-way player in a century following his MLB debut in 2018. A few years later, he became the first player in league history to be named an All-Star as both a pitcher and a position player.
Let’s dive deeper into Ohtani’s career and stats before and during his MLB career.
More about Shohei Ohtani
Before joining the MLB, Ohtani played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) Pacific League.
He was the first Fighters pick in the 2012 draft and played in NPB from 2013 through 2017 as a pitcher and an outfielder. In October 2016, Ohtani recorded the fastest pitch in NPB history at 165 kilometers per hour (102.5 mph). And while Thyago Vieira broke the record five years later, Ohtani still holds the Japanese record. The Fighters posted Ohtani to MLB after the 2017 season when he signed with Los Angeles.
Shortly after, he won the 2018 American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award and the 2021 AL Most Valuable Player Award. His 2021 season only got better, and Ohtani became the first two-way player in the history of MLB with 10+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts and 10+ pitching appearances as a pitcher in the same season, all while holding at least a share of the major league lead in home runs in fourteen starts. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred formally recognized Ohtani’s performance as “historically significant” and having had a “major impact on the sport.”
Additionally, Ohtani was the first player in MLB history to be an All-Star as both a pitcher and a hitter.
The Oshy native didn’t stop there. In 2022, he became the first player in the modern era to qualify for both the hitting and pitching leaderboards in the same season, reaching the limits of 3.1 plate appearances and one inning pitched per game with 586 at-bats against 166 innings erected.
Ohtani led Japan to victory over the U.S.A.
Last but not least, the two-way Superstar struck out fellow Angels superstar teammate Mike Trout on Tuesday night to give Japan a 3-2 victory over the United States in the World Baseball Classic championship.
It was a legendary WBC title run for the tournament’s best player in MLB, who blew away one of the other most outstanding players in MLB on three swinging strikes.
Ohtani finished the 2023 WBC with a .435 batting average and tournament-high ten walks while racking up 11 strikeouts against just two walks in his three pitching appearances (two starts), covering 9 2/3 innings.
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