let's get excited about...shohei otani

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Back in November, we contributed a post about Japanese superstar Shohei Otani, noting that the 22-year-old hurler already projected as one of the best pitchers on the planet, and would be one of the most coveted international imports in baseball history if his NPB team, Nippon Ham, decided to make him available to MLB clubs. Since that time, Otani’s 2016 season has only expanded his legend.

On the mound, Otani has had another great year, allowing a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts and racking up 140 strikeouts in 116 innings. But his real coming out party has been at the plate, as he’s forced his way into the lineup on a regular basis, becoming a legitimate two-way player. In 301 plate appearances, he’s hitting .333/.435/.631, which means he leads the league in OPS. With all due respect to Madison Bumgarner and the #PitchersWhoRake hashtag, Otani looks like something the likes of which we don’t currently have in MLB.


have you ever even read The Drudge Report? Have you gone on Stormfron (k3vin k.), Wednesday, 31 August 2016 16:49 (seven years ago) link

i was just about to start a thread on him after reading the same article! if an american league team could acquire him and put him at DH on days when he isn't pitching...O_O

I look forward to hearing from you shortly, (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:21 (seven years ago) link

new favorite player

have you ever even read The Drudge Report? Have you gone on Stormfron (k3vin k.), Wednesday, 31 August 2016 21:51 (seven years ago) link

seven months pass...


k3vin k., Tuesday, 4 April 2017 17:31 (six years ago) link

the NL vs AL choice is going to be very interesting

it sucks knowing that he's inevitably going to play for the dodgers, red sox, or yankees.

Karl Malone, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 17:48 (six years ago) link

i imagine his chances of being a star pitcher are greater than his chances of being a star hitter, so NL would make the most sense -- but if he could be a #1 pitcher and an above-average DH...

k3vin k., Tuesday, 4 April 2017 18:48 (six years ago) link

that's the dream, at least. if the guy can actually hit .300 that's an entirely different league than Bumbarger, whose slash line is .186/.236/.327. we've had guys like that before...Grienke, Zambrano, etc.

frogbs, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 18:55 (six years ago) link

To better understand Otani I spoke with Anri Uechi of Kyodo News, who covers Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees but also has followed the career of Otani. I asked Uechi for a comps on Otani as a pitcher and hitter. He came up with a blend of Yu Darvish — only with more velocity – and Christian Yelich. Hey, not bad.


Karl Malone, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 18:58 (six years ago) link

if he's going to alternate between pitching and the outfield we can all look forward to many years of waiting for him to be off the disabled list

qualx, Wednesday, 5 April 2017 17:48 (six years ago) link

five months pass...

reportedly coming


johnny crunch, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:47 (six years ago) link

yep, seems to be the word

dave cameron: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-to-sign-shohei-otani/

k3vin k., Wednesday, 13 September 2017 20:33 (six years ago) link

two months pass...


k3vin k., Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:15 (six years ago) link

we need a mod to change the thread title (otani > ohtani)

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:39 (six years ago) link

congrats Yankees

frogbs, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:50 (six years ago) link

supposedly both are correct? https://medium.com/@DanielBrim/is-it-otani-or-ohtani-4e6548c27ed6

mookieproof, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 19:59 (six years ago) link

tbh he should demand in his contract that he gets 大谷

mookieproof, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:00 (six years ago) link


Karl Malone, Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:03 (six years ago) link

yeah I thought I'd just erred but i've consistently been seeing Ohtani and Otani in different media.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 15 November 2017 20:09 (six years ago) link

Breaking: players union sets Monday deadline to resolve posting issue. So in 4 days otani could know if he'll be able to jump to mlb in '18.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 16, 2017

mookieproof, Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:54 (six years ago) link

Brian: Where does “the Mets are CONSIDERING pursuing Ohtani” rank among saddest baseball offseason rumors? Is there anything to consider?

Dave Cameron: Any team that doesn’t have, at minimum, an intern putting together a powerpoint to send to the agent just in case should be embarrassed.

It’s a free lottery ticket. All 30 teams should make a bare minimum “we’re interested if you are!” pitch

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 16 November 2017 20:33 (six years ago) link

Elementary brain: Otani

Expanding brain: Ohtani

Galactic brain: Ōtani

— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) November 22, 2017

mookieproof, Wednesday, 22 November 2017 14:55 (six years ago) link

Over the weekend, executives across baseball hunkered down in their offices to fill out a document. One general manager called it “the most important paper I’ve written since college.” Another scrambled to find someone to translate his version into proper Japanese. An executive, short on sleep, long on frustration, said: “This is so stupid.”

In anticipation of Shohei Ohtani’s posting, the agents for the 23-year-old Japanese star sent a memo to all 30 teams, asking them to explain why Ohtani fits in their organization. Some executives rolled their eyes. Others saw it as an opportunity to differentiate themselves. Each wound up doing the same thing: Putting together their best sales pitch for what everyone agrees is a once-in-a-lifetime player, not simply because of his talent as a pitcher and hitter but the absurd discount in which teams may realize well over $100 million in surplus value.

“Shohei Ohtani,” one agent said, “is like the baseball version of the new Amazon headquarters.”


Andy K, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 03:38 (six years ago) link

oh man, if you're a team submitting only a "paper" in response to the ohtani request, you are so not going to be chosen

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 03:40 (six years ago) link

yeah u gotta have holograms at a minimum these days

k3vin k., Wednesday, 29 November 2017 03:49 (six years ago) link

we need a mod to change the thread title (otani > ohtani)

― Karl Malone, Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:39 AM (one week ago)

yeah no, should we start spelling Osaka "Ohsaka"?

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Wednesday, 29 November 2017 07:55 (six years ago) link

One general manager called it “the most important paper I’ve written since college.” ... an executive, short on sleep, long on frustration, said: “This is so stupid.”

I really see both sides of this. On one hand, he's a great young talent that will sign for far below his market value. On the other hand, almost every Japanese player who made the jump to MLB was overhyped and underdelivered.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 08:59 (six years ago) link

is it true that the ball in the Japan leagues is smaller, because if so that seems like it could make a world of difference

I am sure this dude will be pretty decent in the majors but "once-in-a-lifetime"...idk they were saying that about Yu Darvish and he's one of the better guys to come over

frogbs, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 12:36 (six years ago) link

Al R. B.
Yeah see the brief discussion on that upthread. A lot of the media has been referring to him with the ‘h’ recently so I didn’t realize that it can other way.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:54 (six years ago) link

Shohei Ohtani obliterated the Philadelphia Phillies, alas pic.twitter.com/Asam3vY7qt

— John Trupin (@JohnTrupin) December 1, 2017

mookieproof, Friday, 1 December 2017 06:55 (six years ago) link

Some news out on finalists...

timellison, Monday, 4 December 2017 00:41 (six years ago) link

It would be pretty cool if he ended up going to someone totally unexpected.

I noticed Houston was not listed as out.

earlnash, Monday, 4 December 2017 01:18 (six years ago) link

The angry twitter comments were so great.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 4 December 2017 04:31 (six years ago) link

it's definitely an odd mix of teams ... he wants west coast, but cubs and rangers still in play; he wants a smaller market, but LA and chicago and dallas are still in play. it would be so weird if he went to the padres.

na (NA), Monday, 4 December 2017 15:20 (six years ago) link

hahahah that would be awesome

frogbs, Monday, 4 December 2017 15:21 (six years ago) link

it seems pretty he'll actually end up on the cubs so i'm just hoping he doesn't go to the dodgers.

na (NA), Monday, 4 December 2017 15:26 (six years ago) link

pretty unlikely, that is. meant to delete "pretty" because i overuse it and deleted the wrong word.

na (NA), Monday, 4 December 2017 15:26 (six years ago) link

If ohtani goes to the cubs and stanton says no to the cardinals because stl is a shithole, I am going to be so cranky this off-season

Karl Malone, Monday, 4 December 2017 15:35 (six years ago) link

kinda hoping he goes to the mariners only in part because they're one of "my teams" but mostly because before the posting i called mariners to my friend and i would love to be right for ONCE

flippy bard (Will M.), Monday, 4 December 2017 23:16 (six years ago) link

mariners would be pretty boring tbh

k3vin k., Tuesday, 5 December 2017 01:10 (six years ago) link

padres padres padres

reggae mike love (polyphonic), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 01:18 (six years ago) link

it is going to be the Dodgers and you know it.

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 5 December 2017 04:38 (six years ago) link

I think Ohtani goes to Seattle. There are Japanese there. And if they had Ichiro make a call, my God, to a Japanese kid that's like hearing Ruth and Dimaggio and Mantle and God.

— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) December 4, 2017

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 04:44 (six years ago) link

The key now for the Mariners is to make sure Ohtani doesn’t visit Seattle until the sun comes back out in June

— keithlaw (@keithlaw) December 3, 2017

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 19:11 (six years ago) link

this is something

On Shohei Ohtani, @jimcallisMLB reports grades of "80 raw power, 65 speed, 80 arm, [and] 50 hit," in a @mike_petriello article: https://t.co/wySSnmiKnw

Here are some hitters with similar grades: pic.twitter.com/R61g519MsF

— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) December 6, 2017

mookieproof, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 21:10 (six years ago) link

It's real nice in Seattle right now.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 21:12 (six years ago) link

I mean the Mariners will find a way to waste his potential if they do sign him but it would be cool to have something to be stupidly optimistic about.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 21:14 (six years ago) link

65 speed seems low, people were saying the kid can really fly

k3vin k., Wednesday, 6 December 2017 21:36 (six years ago) link

Angels landed him.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 8 December 2017 19:24 (six years ago) link


mookieproof, Friday, 8 December 2017 19:30 (six years ago) link

Do the Angels need to change how they use Ohtani to maximize their potential? Even as a rival fan it is tough to watch Scioscia send Pujols and Kinsler out at the top of the order while Ohatni sits a third of the time.

Jay Jaffe:
I think they can push Ohtani harder as far as DH duty goes, but given his blister issues and workload concerns, I don’t see them pushing him harder on the mound. Scioscia needs to bat Kinsler much lower in the lineup, and Arte needs to authorize Pujols’ release, but those are separate issues from Ohtani’s usage.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 June 2018 20:07 (five years ago) link

Even as a rival fan it is tough to watch Scioscia send Pujols and Kinsler out at the top of the order while Ohatni sits a third of the time.

Kinsler has been warming up: .900 OBP with 4 HRs over the past 2 weeks.

Otani is .750 over the same stretch (and now will be possibly benched until his blisters subside).

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 7 June 2018 20:52 (five years ago) link

uh oh

Shohei Ohtani will be placed on the disabled list with a grade 2 sprain of the UCL. He underwent a PRP and Stem Cell injection yesterday with Dr. Steve Yoon in Los Angeles. He will be re-evaluated in 3 weeks and we will update his plan of care at that time.

— Angels PR (@LAAngelsPR) June 8, 2018

mookieproof, Friday, 8 June 2018 19:01 (five years ago) link

oh please no

k3vin k., Friday, 8 June 2018 19:03 (five years ago) link

I guess the blister was on his UCL... lol.

Poor guy, I really hope this doesn't turn out like Daisuke Matsuzaka pt 2.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 8 June 2018 19:47 (five years ago) link

I'mma lobby for a minimum of 6 DL spots on any fantasy league I join next year.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 8 June 2018 19:48 (five years ago) link

well there goes his All-Star DH spot

i guess the rest of MLB is gonna suck along with the Mets now

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Friday, 8 June 2018 23:59 (five years ago) link

Baseball just got a lot less interesting this year.

I'm trying to recall the last time a black magic solution for avoiding TJ surgery actually worked ...?

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 10 June 2018 07:22 (five years ago) link

tanaka is the only example i can recall

mookieproof, Sunday, 10 June 2018 17:40 (five years ago) link

“Everything I’m hearing is that the reality is, he probably will need Tommy John surgery,” @pedrogomezESPN reports grim news for Shohei Ohtani and @Angels just now on @sportscenter. “The earliest we might see him, should he have TJ surgery, would be the 2020 season.”

— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) June 11, 2018

Andy K, Monday, 11 June 2018 12:29 (five years ago) link

this reminds me a lot of Strasburg

frogbs, Monday, 11 June 2018 12:32 (five years ago) link

this really sucks

k3vin k., Monday, 11 June 2018 15:56 (five years ago) link

Source: #Angels cautiously optimistic Shohei Ohtani will play again this season — at least as a hitter and possibly in both roles. @MLB @MLBNetwork

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 11, 2018

Scioscia said the Angels’ medical staff is “very optimistic” about Shohei Ohtani’s prognosis. Still two to three weeks from seeing whether PRP injection took hold. Ohtani is taking one-armed swings in batting cage.

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) June 18, 2018


TS: ohtani batting with one arm vs pujols

obviously DLC (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 19 June 2018 20:29 (five years ago) link


k3vin k., Tuesday, 19 June 2018 20:57 (five years ago) link

straight lol at hyperbole-comparisons of soft-toss BP to in-game (esp World Series) dongs.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:37 (five years ago) link

if people in the game are saying it, it probably means something

k3vin k., Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:45 (five years ago) link


While Ohtani certainly isn’t entirely out of the woods just yet, it’s obviously an encouraging update for the Angels that the platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections he received earlier this month have resulted in some meaningful improvement. Eppler indicated yesterday that if Ohtani were strictly a designated hitter, he’d likely have been cleared right away. That, coupled with today’s clearance, makes it seem likely that Ohtani will, at the very least, return to the Angels’ lineup at some point this summer — if not the rotation.

Karl Malone, Friday, 29 June 2018 00:46 (five years ago) link

0-for-4 in his return last night

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 4 July 2018 13:30 (five years ago) link

24 today! not in the lineup

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Friday, 6 July 2018 02:40 (five years ago) link

So it's not loaded stadiums or ballparks

scopin' VARs (Sufjan Grafton), Friday, 6 July 2018 13:40 (five years ago) link

what a shot

k3vin k., Monday, 9 July 2018 12:38 (five years ago) link

These splits look ugly and seem to be getting uglier...

2018 Season vs. LHP:
.170/.254/.245 22K:6BB

.203/.261/.422 23K:5BB

Post All-Star:
.175/.214/.400 13K:2BB

Last 7 days:
.100/.100/.150 6K:0BB

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 2 August 2018 20:39 (five years ago) link

...he must lurk here.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 4 August 2018 16:38 (five years ago) link

Ohtani is set to throw a bullpen session this Saturday.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 8 August 2018 14:33 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

hell yeah! i was trying to keep my hopes realistic

Karl Malone, Thursday, 30 August 2018 23:49 (five years ago) link

they must be pretty confident that he's healthy given that they're out of the playoff hunt...

k3vin k., Friday, 31 August 2018 01:17 (five years ago) link

"Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism."

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 3 September 2018 15:42 (five years ago) link

tl;dr for Tracer:

Ohtani's velocity trends tonight are absolutely horrifying pic.twitter.com/2l0aUPamUM

— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) September 3, 2018

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 3 September 2018 16:36 (five years ago) link

fuck this

frogbs, Thursday, 6 September 2018 13:48 (five years ago) link

hit 2 homers last night

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 6 September 2018 14:09 (five years ago) link

so I guess that begs the question, if he has TJ tomorrow can he still hit in 2019?

frogbs, Thursday, 6 September 2018 14:19 (five years ago) link

Angels saying it depends what the doctors say (ie they aint saying)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 6 September 2018 14:51 (five years ago) link

Weiters didn't

YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Thursday, 6 September 2018 14:58 (five years ago) link

Ohtani's Elbow:

Why would LAA want, or let Ohtani pitch this season after the elbow injury? Is there ANY reasoning behind this?

Jay Jaffe:

The Angels had almost nothing to lose by testing Ohtani's elbow. If he has the surgery now, there's a reasonable shot he can still DH for most/all of next season while not pitching, but if they waited until spring for the surgery, he'd be unable to do either.

Jeff Fletcher, who covers the Angels for the Orange County Register, put it well in a tweet:

"If Ohtani had TJ surgery on June 7, 2018 -- the day the sprain was discovered -- he'd be out till 2020.

"If he has it tomorrow, he'll be out till 2020.

"If he has it a week from now, he'll be out till 2020."

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 6 September 2018 17:01 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...
two years pass...

in games where he pitches, does he get defensive credit for being a pitcher? his defensive adjustment is largely negative because he's played DH 90% of the time, but I would assume that for the plate appearances where he's listed as the pitcher, he'd get a generous positive adjustment

this is from bbref:

Pitcher Positional Adjustment. Now, pitchers also bat, so we need to calculate their Position Player WAR as well. Since pitcher fielding is included in Pitcher WAR, we do not need to consider it here. Pitchers are almost guaranteed to be below replacement hitters and likely no one uses a particular player as a pitcher because they are a good hitter. If that were the case, we might see teams trying for an advantage by routinely using Wilson Valdez as a pitcher or an NL team would always value Jon Lester less than an AL team. Rather, any pitcher hitting is gravy, so the pitcher position adjustment is set so that all pitchers taken together produce zero WAR as position players. As position players, we say a pitcher's games played equals PA/4.

To set the pitcher positional adjustment, we add together every pitcher's Batting Runs, Baserunning Runs,and GIDP Runs = Runs_sum_lg. We also add up their Plate Appearances, PA_sum_lg. The league-wide pitcher positional adjustment is then (-600 * Runs_sum_lg/ PA_sum_lg) which is runs per plate appearance. For a particular player, this number is then multiplied by their plate appearances for their individual positional adjustment.

The top and worst pitcher as position players in 2011 were: best: Carlos Zambrano 7.6 runs, worst: Ryan Dempster -4.8 runs.

note: Some pitchers like Red Ruffing, Bob Lemon and Jim Kaat (as a pinch runner) appeared in many games as a position player, pinch hitter or pinch runner. If we credit them these PA's as just a pitcher then we overvalue their offense, so to handle this we compute a percentage of time as a non-pitcher for all pitchers and they get credit under runs_replacement for this number of games and their runs_position as pitcher are reduced by one minus this factor. Since many of these occurred prior to full play-by-play data, we just use games played data for this adjustment.

non-Pitcher factor
= (Games Played - Games Pitched - .63 * Games as PH or PR)
Games Played
.63 is a factor so we value Games Played in the field differently than as a PH or PR which are likely just a single PA.

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 May 2021 13:41 (two years ago) link

for example it looks like shohei has about 12-14 plate appearances as a pitcher this season, and the rest of his 177 PA are at DH (plus one or two in left or right field)

his positional adjustment overall as a batter on bbref is -4 runs

yordan alvarez, who's played DH for all 160 of his PAs this year, has a positional adjustment of -3 runs

max scherzer has had 17 plate appearances, and has a positional adjustment of +3 runs

does this make sense? shouldn't he get credit for these PAs as a pitcher?

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 May 2021 13:52 (two years ago) link

talking about the positional adjustment for WAR if it wasn't clear

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 May 2021 13:56 (two years ago) link

I think the DH adjustment still should be applied because the Angels aren’t forced to bat him when he pitches. the replacement for him when he’s hitting as a pitcher would be another DH.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 22 May 2021 14:48 (two years ago) link

hmmm that makes sense

k3vin k., Saturday, 22 May 2021 15:08 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I wasn't paying attention to baseball at all last year, so I missed that he got shelled in his two starts, leading to a real quirk in his lifetime stats:

2018 - 51.2 IP, 3.31 ERA
2020 - 1.2 IP
2021 - 47.1 IP, 2.85 ERA

Career ERA: 3.67

He gave up 7 runs in that 1.2 IP. His career ERA would be 3.09 otherwise.

clemenza, Saturday, 12 June 2021 20:16 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Caption to a photo that turned up on my FB wall:

John Olerud pitching in college at Washington State. He was 15-0 his sophomore year with 23 homers and hit .464.

More details here:


clemenza, Saturday, 21 October 2023 18:40 (one month ago) link

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