Shohei Ohtani: MLB’s Greatest Showman


Mark J. Rebilas @rebilasphoto on Twitter

Two-way superstar: Shohei Ohtani gets set up on the pitching mound.

Mikaela Woo, Staff Writer

Sho-Time is at it again! As of Aug. 31, 28-year-old Japanese two-way Angel player, Shohei Ohtani officially became the first in MLB history to have 10 wins on the pitching mound and over 30 home runs in a season.  

That night, the ball left Ohtani’s bat at 107 mph and brought in Mike Trout and David Fletcher back to home plate to score two additional runs. The three-run crash put the Angels above the Yankees in the 6th inning and led them to victory, and Ohtani added another accolade to his already groundbreaking MLB career.    

Ohtani’s laser-focused precision is a once-in-a-generation talent that always makes him a focus for the opposing team. With his 34 home runs and 200 strikeouts this season, he tops Babe Ruth’s best season numbers of 60 home runs and 93 strikeouts. 

Even before playing in MLB, Ohtani showed flashes of greatness while dominating the Japanese professional baseball league, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). In his years playing in NPB, he won Rookie of the Year in 2013, NPB All-Star in 2014, and Pacific League MVP in 2016.  

In 2018, he kicked off his MLB career and won Rookie of the Year, but his time on the field was put on hold after undergoing Tommy John surgery, performed on pitchers to repair torn ligaments in the elbow.  

After the surgery, there were speculations that he wouldn’t live up to the “Sho-Time” name anymore. But as he returned to the game, Ohtani proved everyone wrong in the next few months.

“Coming into it, I was like there’s no way,” star Angels player Mike Trout said, according to sports magazine Baseball America. “But I hadn’t really personally met him before spring and once I came into spring and I saw him pitch and saw him hit I said ‘This guy has everything he needs to succeed up here.’”

Ohtani’s presence in MLB has driven more international baseball fans off of their couches and into stadium seats.  Longtime sports marketing agent, Tony Ponturo, said that Ohtani’s “international flair” is what is so unique about him since not many international players make the jump to MLB.

The rapid growth of Ohtani’s career has led to speculations about his future as an Angel; rumors of him leaving the team circulated among baseball fans Despite the unlikely chance of the Angels getting the wildcard spot in the playoffs, Ohtani remains determined on pushing the Angels to contention.  

“Regardless of where I’m playing, I’m going to give it my all and try to win that ballgame in front of me,” Ohtani said in an MLB postgame interview. “I love my team and my teammates. Right now I’m an Angel, and that’s all I can focus on.”