Six games into his stateside career, 23-year-old Shohei Ohtani has already made the league his and proven the absurdity of his salary — because he’s two stars rolled into one.
In the early going, Ohtani the hitter has been his Los Angeles Angels‘ most potent offensive threat, leading the team in home runs (three through four games as a DH; tied with Mike Trout), batting average (.389), and OPS (1.310).
And he’s probably even better as a pitcher. On Sunday, he pushed his record to 2-0 by flirting with a perfect game against the Oakland A’s, finishing the day with 12 strikeouts and only one hit and one walk surrendered — lowering his WHIP to a majors-leading 0.462.
You may want to tune into the @Angels game….
Shohei Ohtani has TWENTY swinging strikes through 5 perfect innings. The most swinging strikes recorded in an entire start this year is Max Scherzer with 23. https://t.co/mGhrHOGbQo pic.twitter.com/bgIFINcxmg
— #Statcast (@statcast) April 8, 2018
This unheard of confluence of skills has yielded some remarkable stats.
Shohei Ohtani is the 3rd player in MLB history to get 2 wins as a pitcher and hit 3 HR in his team’s first 10 games of a season.
The last man to do that was Jim Shaw in 1919.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 8, 2018
Shohei Ohtani has more home runs this season than Aaron Judge and more strikeouts than Max Scherzer
— Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) April 8, 2018
Shohei Ohtani’s Week
Tuesday: 3-for-4, Homer, 2 runs, 3 RBI
Wednesday: 2-for-5, Homer, Run, 2 RBI
Friday: 1-for-4, Homer, BB, Run, 2 RBI
Sunday: Perfect game into 7th, 7 shutout innings, 1 hit allowed, 12 strikeouts
— James Santelli, Baseball-Enjoyer (@JamesSantelli) April 8, 2018
Correction: MLB uses Game Score 2.0 but doesn’t label it as such. By Game Score 1.0, Ohtani put up an 86, which is tied for the second best of the year. Thanks to @davenwinter and @dj_mosfett for catching this
— Max Carlin (@mcarlinwustl) April 9, 2018
The last pitcher who within his first two career starts had a game in which he went at least 7 innings, allowed 1 hit or fewer, 1 walk or fewer and struck out at least 12: Steve Woodard in 1997. Before that: Juan Marichal in 1960. And that’s it. Ever. Ohtani joined them today.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 8, 2018
Especially in the American League — with his ability to DH on off days — his starring on the mound and at the dish, should he keep this up, would easily make him the most valuable player in the big leagues.
Even more unfair than his skill package: that the Angels, due to MLB’s restrictions on international free agents, have both these studs locked up on a rookie deal for six freaking years.