Shohei Ohtani’s 93% Success Rate in Chasing 40/40 History! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shohei Ohtani’s 93% Success Rate in Chasing 40/40 History!

Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani has reached 100 stolen bases in Major League Baseball, blowing away injury worries.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
On May 17th, he was hit in the left thigh by a pickoff throw. In subsequent games, he refrained from sprinting at full speed, but now he has regained his speed.

On June 2nd (Japan time) at a packed Dodger Stadium, Shohei Ohtani (29) of the Dodgers drew a walk in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Anticipating the motion of Rockies’ right-hander Cal Quantrill (29) as Freddie Freeman (34) stepped up to bat, Ohtani stole second base smoothly. He slid in gracefully, marking his 100th stolen base in MLB. 


81.3%. This is the stolen base success rate of Ichiro Suzuki (50), the greatest leadoff man in Japanese baseball history, who accumulated 509 stolen bases over his 19-year MLB career. Among MLB players with over 500 stolen bases, Ichiro’s success rate ranks fourth all-time, with Tim Raines (64) topping the list at 84.7%. Even legendary base stealers rarely exceed a 90% success rate in a season.


However, this season, Shohei Ohtani has attempted 15 stolen bases with only 1 failure. As of June 4th, his success rate stands at an incredible 93%. Why is Ohtani able to steal bases at such a high rate?

One of the first reasons is likely the rule change favoring runners.


“In MLB, starting from last season, the ‘pitch clock’ was introduced, requiring pitchers to deliver the ball within 20 seconds when a runner is on base. Additionally, significant rule revisions such as ‘failure to pick off the runner after three attempts results in a balk’ and ‘expanding the base dimensions by approximately 7.6 cm’ were implemented. This season, the pitch clock has been further reduced by 2 seconds to 18 seconds. With consistent pitching intervals, runners find it easier to steal bases.” (sports newspaper reporter)

Still, Ohtani’s success rate is about 10 points higher than the legends. Former MLB player Keiichi Yabu analyzed, ‘His team affiliation has been beneficial.’

“This season, Ohtani focuses solely on batting, so he can run without worrying much about injury risks. Moreover, the presence of first base coach Clayton McCullough (44) is crucial. He’s known as an experienced analyst. Before every game, they meticulously discuss pitchers’ pickoff moves, quick delivery times, and tendencies. This season, there have been more instances where he’s taken off with a ‘perfectly stolen’ start. Additionally, Freeman batting behind him isn’t the kind of hitter who holds runners, naturally causing pitchers to overlook Ohtani.”

His leg strength has also noticeably improved. During camp, Coach McCullough worked closely with him on ‘running techniques and body posture.’ He recorded his fastest base-to-base time this season at 3.83 seconds, marking 14th overall in the league and tops in his team.

“In addition to speed, his understanding of pitcher psychology poses a threat to opponents. As a pitcher himself, Ohtani can read situations like when the batter thinks this pitch is appropriate in this situation’ or the focus is on the batter now, allowing him to attempt steals at low-risk timings. With around 60 games played and 14 home runs and steals each, expectations for him to become the first Japanese player to achieve 40-40 are rising.”

When he competes, it’s a long hit, and when he walks, it’s a stolen base. This year, no one can stop Ohtani.

From the June 21, 2024 issue of FRIDAY


Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles