Phenom — that’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Shohei Ohtani. It seems like every time the Los Angeles Angels superstar enters the field, he leaves with a new statistical honor to his name.
It was no different on Wednesday when the Halos emerged 7-1 winners over the Houston Astros. Ohtani became only the second Angels pitcher after Nolan Ryan to throw 10+ strikeouts in four consecutive games.
“Shohei Ohtani joins Nolan Ryan as the only @Angels pitchers to throw 10+ Ks in 4 consecutive games.” – MLB
The accolades don’t end there. Shohei Ohtani became only the 10th pitcher to record double-digit strikes while allowing no more than one run in four consecutive starts. Ryan is one of those 10 names, and so is New York Mets ace and future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer.
The manner of Ohtani’s two-way dominance in hitting and pitching is almost unheard of in MLB history.
At the plate this year, Ohtani has compiled a BA of .258, an OBP of .347, and a SLG of .494. Coupled with those numbers, he has 19 homers, 56 RBI and 10 stolen bases to his name.
On the mound, Ohtani has been even better this term. He has an ERA of 2.38 with 123 strikeouts across 87 innings. Against the Astros on Wednesday, he conceded his first run in over 31 innings.
Ohtani is penciled in for double duty at this year’s All-Star Game after being selected as both a starting DH and a pitcher.
Despite his two-way excellence, Max Scherzer believes that Ohtani has some way to go before he can become an ace.
The two-way superstar was already an accomplished pitcher before arriving in North America five years ago. In his native Japan, Ohtani pitched 543 innings for the Nippon Ham Fighters and had a .252 ERA, averaging 10.34 strikeouts per game.
Shohei Ohtani — future ace?
Being an ace is a completely different ball game but not beyond the reach of Shohei Ohtani’s generational talent, according to Scherzer.
“It takes years to develop as an ace…But his athleticism will allow him to reach his potential, I absolutely believe that.” – Max Scherzer, on Shohei Ohtani, via The Athletic
Ohtani underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018. He was sidelined as a pitcher for the entirety of 2019 and had to relinquish his pitching duties after only two starts in 2020.
Ohtani is the reigning MVP and remains the favorite to successfully defend that crown this year. Teammate Mike Trout and New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge are giving him tight competition, though.