Jun 28, 2023 - Sports

Shohei Ohtani continues to astound

ohtani rounding bases

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Shohei Ohtani will not stop doing absurd things.

Driving the news: The 28-year-old had one of his most impressive games yet on Tuesday night in Anaheim, dominating with his bat and his arm in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

  • Hitting: 3-for-3, 2 home runs, 2 runs batted in, walk
  • Pitching: 6.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 10 strikeouts

Of note: This was Ohtani's first game with multiple home runs as the starting pitcher, but it certainly wasn't the first time his bat has supported his arm: He's hitting .407 in games he pitches this season.

State of play: We are witnessing something extraordinary. The same person is simultaneously (a) the best hitter in baseball and (b) the most difficult pitcher to get a hit against.

  • Hitting: Ohtani leads Major League Baseball in home runs (28), RBI (64), slugging percentage (.654), on-base plus slugging percentage (1.039), extra-base hits (47) and total bases (200).
  • Pitching: He leads all qualified pitchers in opponent batting average (.180), while ranking third in strikeouts (127) and third in average fastball velocity (97.1 mph).
ohtani pitching
Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

The intrigue: The Ōshū, Japan native has already tied an Angels record with 13 homers this month and he's now on pace for 56, which would tie Ken Griffey Jr. (1997-98) and Hack Wilson (1930) for 18th-most in a season.

  • His hitting stats and highlight-worthy homers get most of the attention, but I cannot stress enough how utterly dominant this man is on the mound.
  • Since the start of last season, Ohtani has 16 games with 10+ strikeouts. No other MLB pitcher has more than 11.

The bottom line: Imagine combining Mickey Mantle and Justin Verlander in their primes. That's Shohei Ohtani through the first half of 2023. His projected full-season stats…

  • Hitting: .304/.386/.654, 186 hits, 30 doubles, 8 triples, 56 HR, 128 RBI, 110 runs, 22 steals
  • Pitching: 32 games started, 190.2 IP, 14 wins, 3.02 ERA, 1.03 walks and hits per inning pitched, 254 strikeouts

The last word … I've never covered an athlete quite like Ohtani. He's so spectacular so frequently that reporting on him is actually kind of tricky.

  • "Do I write about him again? I just wrote about him." … "Do I delve into his latest feat now or save it for a larger story when he inevitably breaks another record?"
  • Those are the kinds of questions I seem to ask myself on a weekly basis. In the end, I almost always decide to chronicle his exploits.
  • My thinking: One day, I'll be telling my grandkids about watching this guy. For their sake, I'd like to have been as present as possible during his reign. We can't grow desensitized to this.

Go deeper: Shohei Ohtani is baseball's endorsement king

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