Modern Day Babe Ruth?
The Los Angeles Angels boast arguably the best player in all of Baseball with Mike Trout. Now, they are getting a chance to see what their prize possession free agent pickup of 2018, Shohei Ohtani can do.
Ohtani was a highly touted free agent coming out of Japan. Teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees among others were in the running to sign Shohei. The reason Ohtani differentiates himself from other international prospects is because he is proficient in both hitting and pitching. Before he came to the MLB, Ohtani was dominating with his bat and his arm.
Once Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels, it was unclear whether he will be a rotational starting pitcher and an everyday hitter especially in the American League. There was speculation that the Angels would want Ohtani to do one or the other. Whether that would be a starting pitcher in the rotation or an every day designated hitter. After his first two seasons with the Angels, questions still remained.
Ohtani would have some flashes on the mound, but seemed to have more struggles than success. However, his bat and his speed on the bases was constantly above average. After a bit of a pitching arm injury, it was looking more and more like Ohtani would become just a hitter.
Now in his 3rd season with the Angels, it is clear that Angels skipper, Joe Maddon has a clear plan for Shohei. Maddon is known for his unusual way of going about things, and it seemed like destiny for Maddon to manage a player like Shohei Ohtani.
Maddon is clear that he wants Shohei in the starting lineup in both the pitching rotation and the batting order. He is not stopping there. Previously, when Shohei was pitching, he would not be in the batting order as a DH. This year, he has been playing both roles.
In his first start of the 2021 MLB Season, Shohei proved why he could be the ‘Modern Day Babe Ruth’ with his pitching and hitting prowess. Ohtani threw a pitch at 101 MPH in the top of the first inning to Chicago White Sox outfielder, Adam Eaton. However, that was not the most impressive part. Ohtani turned around in the back half of the inning and took White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease deep. Ohtani’s pitch at 101 MPH was the fastest pitch in the Majors throughout the first week and his homerun clocked in at 115.2 MPH which was the hardest exit velocity on a ball hit in the Majors up until Minnesota’s Nelson Cruz of the Twins hit a ball 116 MPH for a mammoth home run against the Tigers.
So throughout the first week of the 2021 season, Ohtani owns the 2nd hardest exit velocity at 115.2 MPH and the hardest pitch thrown at 101 MPH… Safe to say Ohtani is a special talent that should be quite the player to watch throughout what should be a long, illustrious MLB career. He is a rare talent that the MLB hasn’t seen since the Great Bambino himself.