MLB’s New Star Shohei Ohtani

Monica Kurjan, Co-Sports Editor

Shohei Ohtani, a 23 year old baseball player from Japan, is on his way to becoming MLB’s newest star. Experts are even going as far as calling him “Japan’s Babe Ruth”. Ohtani is a double threat, being able to throw around 100 mph (has thrown fastest pitch by a Japanese pitcher at 102.5 mph) and be productive at the plate (hitting 48 home runs in the Japanese league last season).

Up until a few days ago, there were seven teams in the running to be the home to Ohtani in 2018. Those seven teams were the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs. Ohtani wanted a small organization preferably on the west coast, where he could be able to pitch and hit, whether hitting came from being an NL pitcher, or by being a DH.

On Friday, Ohtani finally picked the club that he wants to be a part of in the MLB. That team is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are now going to be home to three big names, the other two being Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. At his press conference, Ohtani made a joke that he wanted to be number 27, but that was already taken by somebody (Trout). That being said, Ohtani picked number 17.

The Angels announced that to start off his career, Ohtani is going to be added to the starting pitching rotation. On the days when he is not pitching, he will be the team’s DH, that way they can still have his big bat, without making him play the field. That being said, they are not against the idea of having him play in the outfield a few years down the road, once he has gained some experience.

The fact that Ohtani plays both ways, posting a .286/.359/.505 and a 2.77 ERA through five seasons in Japan’s professional league, means it will require Ohtani to be closely monitored. It needs to be made sure that he is staying healthy due to to the vigourous toll on his body from spring training, regular season (162 games), and the possibility of post season. All of this happens over a span of six months, which is a long time to be putting that much pressure on your body.

It will be interesting to see if Ohtani can bring those numbers to America and be able to perform the same way he did in Japan.