I have double-digit wins and 50 homers… Shohei Ohtani, “Unexpected Concerns” | FRIDAY DIGITAL

I have double-digit wins and 50 homers… Shohei Ohtani, “Unexpected Concerns”

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Ohtani hits a double against the Astros on April 11 (Image: Jiji Press)

I couldn’t follow the ball with my eyes.

On April 11 (Japan time) against the Astros, Shohei Ohtani (27) of the Angels hit a second-base hit with a velocity of 1191 mph (191.7 km/h) in his second at-bat. It was the fastest pitch ever hit by a left-hander, so fast that even the TV cameras broadcasting the game lost sight of it.

This season, Ohtani seems to be in the best shape he has been since his debut in the majors in 2006. He has built up his body well in the off-season and has become accustomed to the majors in his fifth year. Before the season, he expressed his confidence to the press. I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m going to concentrate so that I don’t lose this state of mind. Both leagues have adopted the designated hitter system this season. Ohtani’s number of at-bats will increase significantly, so he should be able to hit more than 50 home runs (46 last season).

As a pitcher, he has also maintained a strong performance. He pitched 4 2/3 innings in a losing effort against the Astros, but he was good: he gave up only one run and struck out nine, which translates to more than 17 strikeouts in nine innings. As long as he doesn’t get injured, I think he will win double-digit games for sure.

However, there is an element of concern. It is not only sudden injuries that are a concern.

With a shorthanded starting lineup, ……

Nachi Tomonari, a sports journalist with extensive knowledge of the major leagues, discusses the concerns about pitching and hitting. First of all, as a pitcher…

I am worried about overuse. Otani, who won a team-high nine games last season, is the absolute ace of the Angels. The only other pitcher who can be counted on is Syndergaard, the Mets’ second-leading pitcher, who has recorded double-digit wins on three occasions. The rest of the starting pitchers are unknown, and we can only hope that the relievers will get going.

In order to reduce the burden on the relievers as much as possible, Ohtani will be asked to pitch longer innings. He needs to pitch energy-efficiently, avoiding four-seamers and making full use of cut balls. Even if he gets off the board in the 5th inning after holding opponents to a higher pitch count, there is a chance that the relievers will get hit by pitches and erase the winning run.

As a hitter, there are concerns as well. Mr. Tomonari continues.

The ‘Otani Rule,’ which was adopted this season, allows pitchers to continue to bat even if they are removed from the mound as a pitcher. This rule is a double-edged sword. It is true that the number of at-bats will increase, and home runs are expected to rise. On the other hand, the accumulation of fatigue will also increase. Even after finishing his role as a pitcher, he has to stand at bat without a break. I worry that fatigue will build up and his performance will decline after the summer, and he may need to take two or three games off or otherwise take a cohesive rest.”

Despite the concerns of those around him, Ohtani has been performing substandardly in the past. We hope that Ohtani will blow away these concerns and perform even better than last season, when he won the MVP award, to the delight of fans in both Japan and the U.S.

  • Photo Jiji Press

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