Batting average, runs batted in, home runs… Why Shohei Otani, with 21 team titles, can win the unprecedented first “Four Crowns” in the Majors! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Batting average, runs batted in, home runs… Why Shohei Otani, with 21 team titles, can win the unprecedented first “Four Crowns” in the Majors!

In addition to home runs, batting average, and runs batted in, Shohei Otani is also the strikeout king! He is currently leading the team with 21 titles!

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Ohtani signed a contract with New Balance this season. His sponsorship income is estimated at 4.5 billion yen, the top figure in the majors.

In his third at-bat at Kauffman Stadium, Shohei Ohtani (28) of the Angels comfortably sent away an out-of-the-park changeup, an invitation pitch from Zack Greinke (39), the 200-win pitcher for the Royals. The count was 3 balls, 2 strikes. On the sixth pitch of the inning, Otani caught a sweet curveball, and with an explosive sound, the white ball, which hit 188.5 km/h, disappeared into the stands in the blink of an eye.

As of June 20, he had hit .300 with 24 home runs and 58 runs batted in, and when you add in his 10 stolen bases and the performance of his ace pitcher, Otani, he has won 21 titles with the team. Baseball commentator Keiichi Yabu, who has played in the majors, was amazed at the team’s success.

He said, “I have my right leg open a little when I get ready to pitch. By doing this, I can see the ball better than before and hit it closer to the point, which improves my pitch selection. For an average hitter, the risk of being plugged in increases by making the point closer, but this is not a problem for Otani.

Because of his substandard swing speed and power, he can swing in time even after he has seen the ball until the very last moment. Even if he swings a little late, he can take it in the opposite direction. The evidence of this is that all of the 19-23 hits are all from the center to the left. I no longer have the mindset of ‘pull it and let it fly.

Ohtani, who leads the league in home runs and runs batted in, is the closest to winning the triple crown in the majors this year.

“Probably the hardest thing to win is the title of the leadoff hitter,” he said. Ohtani is eighth, two minutes behind leader Austin Hays (Orioles, 27), with Masanao Yoshida (Red Sox, 29) in fifth.

However, Ohtani’s batting average and on-base percentage are higher than usual this year because he is able to draw the ball and hit it wide and wide. There is a good chance that he can raise them even more from here. If the two-tooled Otani and newcomer Yoshida can compete for the top spot at the end of the season, the whole of Japan will be excited.

In ’21, when multiple titles were expected, the team fell apart at the end of the season. ……

The team had only one strong hitter, Otani, and Mike Trout (31), the three-time league MVP, was often out due to injury. They couldn’t give me a proper competition. This year, however, Trout is back and is the reigning No. 3 hitter behind Otani. Naturally, they will be less likely to avoid competition, which will increase their chances.

The scary thing about Ohtani is that he does not stop at just showing fans his dream of a “Triple Crown” title.

He currently leads the league in batting average and ranks third in strikeouts. If he continues to improve from this point on, it is not impossible for him to win the “Quadruple Crown,” including the strikeout crown. If that happens, his contract this off-season will be worth close to 100 billion yen over 12 years.

The team, which has always been in the bottom half of the league, is now in second place in the West Division thanks to Ohtani’s success, and we may see Ohtani wearing the championship ring as well as the four championships.

As a pitcher, he can handle a variety of pitches, including a curveball, sweeper, vertical slider, and cut ball, in addition to his 100+ mph fastball.
As a hitter, he has a .356 batting average and 1.295 OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) when he plays second.

From the July 7, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO AFLO, Kyodo News

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