Anaheim Angels two-way player Shohei Ohtani is making quite a name for himself.
Ohtani, the first two way player in Major League Baseball in some time, has shown he can pitch at the MLB level, and that he can hit with the best of them. Ohtani possesses a rare combination of bat speed, eye-hand coordination, and poise at the plate. These three traits compute out to world class power with the potential to hit .300-plus.
Struggling to stay healthy in his first full season, Ohtani is hitting .269 with 12 home runs. He has 14 doubles and 35 RBI’s during his abbreviated season, which is 69 games so far.
As a pitcher, Ohtani has shown, at times, his nasty stuff, highlighted by a sinking fork-ball that is one of the best pitches in baseball. His 4-1 record with a 3.10 ERA makes him a very rare two-way prospect.
Ohtani, even though he has struggled to stay healthy, is being compared to the greatest Japanese players of all-time, Matsui and Ichiro.
Hedeki Matsui had a lifetime .282 average with 172 home runs and 760 RBI’s. While his career is stellar with over 4000 at-bats, his talent level doesn’t match Ohtani’s.
Ichiro was a different animal. Who will ever forget Ichiro’s first game on national television when he showed that bullet of an arm from right field. Ichiro, who is still playing, is a legend with a lifetime batting average of .311 and over 700 RBI’s. Ichiro is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who changed the way Japanese players were perceived in this country.
At the end of the day, Ohtani, who still has something to prove, will be the best ever to play here from Japan. No player in modern day baseball has possessed his skill set, so time will tell just how good he ends up being.