Over the last couple of seasons, Shohei Ohtani has dominated the Japanese professional league on both sides of plate, where he was arguably the best hitter AND the best pitcher over that stretch. As of today, he's only 23 years old, throws 100 mph, and can hit a baseball 500 feet. He's in his first year in the MLB with the Los Angeles Angels.
Everyone knew he was good. Some have gone as far to say Ohtani is the next Babe Ruth. Ruth is probably the most memorable player to have a successful career as both a pitcher and a hitter (and he was very good at both), but he played in an era that was entirely different from our own. For Ohtani, it will be much harder to resemble that kind of player over time, but he’s off to the kind of start that makes us wonder that maybe, just maybe, he can do it.
After an unforgettable week and a half of baseball, Ohtani was tied for the league lead in home runs and slugging percentage. On top of that, in an utterly dominant pitching performance, he struck out 12 and took a perfect game into the 7th inning before giving up a weak single to the Oakland A's. There have only been 23 perfect games in the entire history of Major League Baseball.
It’s a long season. He's going to encounter some rough patches, but I think we should enjoy his success while we can. One of my favorite baseball writers, Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer, put it wisely in a tweet:
"...the 3-homer, 12-strikeout week when Shohei Ohtani showed that if anything, we somehow hadn't hyped him enough."
Lindbergh's full article can be read here.
Do you think Ohtani will keep it up? I sure hope he does, because it sure is fun to watch!