Shohei Ohtani was born on July 5, 1994. Born in Iwate, Japan, Ohtani rose through the ranks of the Japanese Baseball League(NPB) and is now one of the most dynamic baseball players in the world. Ohtani is not only an international inspiration, but is also one of the most exciting and amazing baseball players to watch for everyone.
Ohtani’s Early Life
Born in Iwate, Japan, Ohtani is the youngest of three children. He was encouraged by his father, Toru, to play baseball along with his brother, Ryuta, and played through childhood until high school. He drew attention from the NPB during high school due to his large build and impressive numbers. Standing at 6 foot 5 inches at age 17, Ohtani pitched at over 90 MPH during high school, and signed with the Nippon-Ham Fighters in the NPB in 2012.
Ohtani in the NPB
Ohtani became a national sensation due to pitching and hitting during the same season. He won 3 of his 11 starts and held a 4.23 ERA, and had a batting average of .238 in his rookie year, being selected to the All Star Game. Over the next 5 years, Ohtani became a 5 time all star, MVP, and was designated as one of the best 9 players in the league 3 times. Ohtani had an ERA of 2.52, 624 strikeouts, and won 42 games. He hit 45 home runs and 166 runs batted in. Ohtani became a star on the world stage and moved to the MLB in 2018, joining the Los Angeles Angels.
Ohtani in the MLB
Since he joined the MLB in 2018, “Showtime’s” seasons have been a mixed bag. He was a dynamic hitter in 2018, carrying an OPS of .925, and was %150 of an average hitter. He hit 28 home runs and was a valuable player at the plate. He also had a good pitching season, leading to him winning the American League Rookie of the Year. He had more lackluster 2019 and 2020 seasons, and entered the 2021 season with many questions about his future in the league. He then proceeded to absolutely explode in 2021, hitting 46 home runs, leading the league in triples, and had an OPS of .965. He had a productive year hitting as well, winning 9 games and becoming one of the most productive pitchers on the Angel’s pitching staff. He was an All Star as a pitcher and batter, and is lined up to win the league MVP.
The Appeal of Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani is the player baseball needs. There has never been someone to do what Ohtani has done this year, being dominant as a pitcher and as a batter. Unlike other major sports, baseball has been plagued with boring, not as appealing star players in recent years. As much as I and many others love Mike Trout, he doesn’t have the appeal of someone like Lebron James, who is an interesting, vocal, exciting star who sells the game. Trout is many things, but he is also quiet and does not have an excitement factor. Ohtani is different from Trout. He is completely unique, something we have never seen before. He grows the game not only in the United States, but is an international superstar who grows the game everywhere.