The pundits are also on board! Shohei Ohtani, the next to surpass Godzilla, aims for 200 hits and most hits in a year! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The pundits are also on board! Shohei Ohtani, the next to surpass Godzilla, aims for 200 hits and most hits in a year!

Ichiro has been producing hits since the opening day of the season and has recorded an astonishing batting average! He is already in sight of becoming the top hitter!

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The moment when he hit his 176th major league hit. The bat was bending and the ball was crushed by the sheer speed of the swing. The power to hit long balls is still there.

On April 22 (Japan time) against the Mets, the Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani (29), batting second in the third inning, took a full swing at a slider on the second pitch thrown by Adrian Hauser (31), the opposing right fielder. With No. 176, Otani broke Hideki Matsui’s (49) record for most home runs by a Japanese player in the majors and became the all-time leader.

It was thought to be impossible to break the record,” Otani said. After breaking a record that was thought to be impossible to break, Otani’s next goal is to become the “200-hit hitter and leader in hits in a season,” a title held by another legend, Ichiro (50).

The focus has been on home runs, but Otani has also produced a lot of hits this year, with 35 hits in 24 games. He has a high average of over .350. Last year’s leading hitter, Luis Araes (27), has had a poor start to the season, so the first top hitter is in sight.
Ohtani usually gets going in late May. The summers in Los Angeles are hot and the ground is harder and the ball bounces more, so there are more infield hits. Assuming 650 hits in a year, he would see 208 hits with a batting average of .320 and the most hits. If he were to increase the number of hits to 700 and record a batting average of .375, he might even reach Ichiro’s world record of 262 hits in a year. It is by no means impossible,” said sportswriter Nachi Tomonari.

This season, Otani will be like Matsui and Ichiro, a two-sport athlete who can hit for long and hit for smart. How far will this man go beyond our imagination?

The fact that there are strong hitters such as Freeman (34, left) in the lineup is one of the reasons for the decrease in walks and increase in hits.

From the May 10 and 17, 2024 issue of FRIDAY


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