Shohei Ohtani’s Dual Threat and His Immediate Impact in Los Angeles

Before last week, the last time a pitcher won a game in the MLB then followed it up with a game in which he hit a home run was 1921.


That pitchers name was Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players of all time.


Shohei Ohtani continues to dominate in his entry into the MLB and has put up staggering numbers over his first ten games.  He has led the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-3 record.


In his first win on April 1st, Ohtani retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.  On April 3rd, he hit a three-run home run in his first plate appearance at Angel Stadium.  The day after that, all he did was hit another homer off of reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.


In his next game against the Athletics, Ohtani hit yet another home run and this one traveled a staggering 449 feet, according to Statcast.  Two days later, Ohtani flirted with a perfect game in his second start as a pitcher and ended up with just one hit allowed over seven innings.  He even threw 24 pitches that resulted in swinging strikes, which is an MLB high on the year.


The Japanese native who chose the Angels over many other MLB suitors this past winter is only 23 years old, yet he continues to put up great statistics on both sides of the ball that have seldom been matched by a player who both pitches and hits.

His talent which has been scouted overseas for years is undeniable, but his struggles against weaker lineups in spring training last month suggested that he may have needed work in the minor leagues. Ohtani has seemingly heard the criticism and shattered it with an explosive first ten games.


So, is there a comparison for the young Angels phenom?  The last player to hit three home runs and win two games as a pitcher in a team’s first ten games was Jim Shaw 99 years ago in 1919.  Although comparing Ohtani to Ruth, one of the greatest players of all time, may feel forced, his versatility is starting to match that of Ruth’s early playing days before he became a full-time outfielder for the New York Yankees.


While playing on the Boston Red Sox, Ruth led the league in homeruns in the same season that he posted a 2.22 ERA in 19 starts.  Ohtani is only beginning his season and his career, but his statistics are clearly headed in the right direction.


April is typically a dangerous time for analyzing baseball and many assumptions are jumped to, but one can only be optimistic about the potential star that appears to be thriving on the biggest stage of his life.