The Shohei Ohtani impact on the MLB is undeniable, he has totally taken the baseball world by storm. Although he has only been in the MLB for a month, he has brought a whole new perspective on modern baseball. The starting pitcher and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels is reintroducing the two-way player to the MLB after many years of abandoning the idea.
The most popular two-way player in the history of the MLB is, without a doubt, Babe Ruth. We have not really seen a successful two-way player since the time of Ruth. In only a month of play in the majors, Ohtani has exceeded expectations not only hitting the ball, but pitching as well. He has played in 18 games (4 as a pitcher), and in that short amount of time has already hit 4 HR, drove in 12 runs, and has logged a .308 BA.
At first glance, his pitching numbers collectively are less than stellar, but Ohtani has showed us some flashes of great potential with his first two starts in the season. This was showcased in his 2nd start where he had a 1 hit effort through 7 innings posting 12 strikeouts. His most intriguing asset is his ability to strikeout Major League hitters. So far, he has posted a remarkable 11.5 K/9 rate. Prior to making his debut in the MLB, he played in Japan in the NPB for Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters for 5 seasons, where he recorded the fastest pitch in NPB history at 102.5 mph.
Not only has he made an impact on the field, but off the field as well. He is inspiring a generation of emerging two-way players such as Brendan McKay and Hunter Greene. Greene is currently only a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds Single-A affiliate Dayton Dragons, but has not ruled out the possibility of becoming a two-way player at shortstop in the future.
He is leading the pack of young international players as well. He is a player that no one in our generation has seen before, which has made him that much more of an impactful figure on the game of baseball. Not to say that he will be a batter of Mike Trout’s caliber or as dominant of a pitcher as Clayton Kershaw, but one thing is for certain: Ohtani is truly a history maker. If you get a chance, you most definitely should watch him play.