hohei ohtani - aka showtime

Shohei Ohtani is a talented athlete from Japan, boasting an extraordinary skill set as a professional baseball player in the USA playing for the Los Angeles Angels

Affectionately called “Showtime“, Shohei’s passion for baseball goes beyond borders. In his homeland of Japan, he is fondly known as “yakyū shōnen,” signifying a young lad wholly immersed in the world of baseball – a genuine aficionado who lives, breathes, and devours everything related to the sport.

Ohtani is recognized for his remarkable versatility, excelling as a designated hitter, pitcher, and outfielder for the prestigious Los Angeles Angels in Major League Baseball. Prior to gracing the MLB stage, Ohtani showcased his prowess with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Nippon Professional Baseball’s (NPB) Pacific League.

Ohtani signed for the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 2023 – with a 10 year $700 MILLION deal.

2023 Earnings – Ohtani Highest Paid MLB Player – signs $700m Dodgers Contract

In December 2023 Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to one of the most unusual MLB contract deals in the League’s history, with an unprecedented $680 million in deferred money. The Dodgers will pay him $2 million in each of the next 10 seasons, through 2033. Then they’ll owe him $68 million in each of the 10 years after that, through 2043.

It is estimated that Ohtani makes $50m+ from endorsements and deals away from the diamond – so getting paid just $2m a year has little effect on the superstar’s spending power!

Shohei Ohtani’s MLB Statistics (through July 17, 2023)

  • Win–loss record: 35–19
  • Earned run average: 3.09
  • Strikeouts: 580
  • Batting average: .273
  • Home runs: 162
  • Runs batted in: 417

View Current MLB Standings

Ohtani is the first player in MLB history to record 40 Home Runs and 15 stolen bases in a team’s first 115 games. The only other player to do it within a team’s first 120 games is Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998.

MLB Betting: Shohei Ohtani opened as a +200 favorite to win American League MVP this year at Vegas sportsbooks

Shohei Ohtani’s Awards and Honors
Year Award(s)
2015 WBSC Baseball Player of the Year
2015 Pacific League ERA Leader
2016 Pacific League MVP
2016 Japan Series Champion
2016 Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize
2018 Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize
2018 MLB Player of the Week Award
2018 MLB Player of the Week Award
2018 Rookie of the Month Award (April)
2018 Rookie of the Month Award (September)
2018 Rookie of the Year Award (Baseball America)
2018 Rookie of the Year Award
2021 Baseball America Player of the Year
2021 Baseball Digest Player of the Year Award
2021 Edgar Martinez Award (Outstanding DH of the Year)
2021 Hickok Belt
2021 MLB Player of the Week
2021 MLB Player of the Week
2021 Most Valuable Player Award
2021 Outstanding Player of the Year Award (Player’s Choice)
2021 Player of the Month Award
2021 Player of the Month Award
2021 Player of the Year Award (Player’s Choice)
2021 Sporting News Major League Player of the Year Award
2021 The Silver Slugger Award (American League)
2021 Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award
2022 Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award

Shohei Ohtani – Early Life

Shohei Ohtani’s journey begins with his early life and upbringing. Born on July 5, 1994, in Ōshū, Iwate, Japan, he was raised by his parents, Kayoko and Toru Otani. Interestingly, his mother, Kayoko, was a talented badminton player who achieved recognition at the national level during her high school years. On the other hand, his father, Toru, found his passion in baseball and played as an amateur in the esteemed Japanese Industrial League.

Attending Hanamaki Higashi High School in the Iwate Prefecture of Japan, young Shohei Ohtani’s talent on the baseball diamond quickly became evident. At the mere age of 18, during the renowned Japanese national high school baseball championship tournament, famously known as Summer Koshien, Ohtani’s pitching prowess stunned spectators with a blazing 160 km/h (99 mph) fastball.

The world witnessed his abilities further during the 2012 18U Baseball World Championship, where Ohtani participated. Despite his tender age, he showcased tremendous potential, leaving an impact with his performances. Throughout the championship, he tallied an impressive 0–1 win-loss record, recording 16 strikeouts, eight walks, five hits, five runs, and a 4.35 earned run average in 10⅓ innings pitched.

Draft

Following his expressed desire to skip college and jump straight into the major leagues right after high school, Shohei Ohtani became a subject of interest for multiple teams. Eventually, on October 21, 2022, Ohtani made the decisive announcement that he would embark on a career in Major League Baseball (MLB), foregoing the opportunity to play professionally in Japan.

Despite this announcement, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, acknowledging Ohtani’s exceptional talent, decided to select him as a first-round pick in the 2012 draft, even though they were well aware of the likelihood that he might not play for them immediately. Nevertheless, after exclusive negotiations, Ohtani eventually confirmed his commitment to the Fighters, opting to spend some valuable time honing his skills in the Japanese league before potentially making the move to MLB.

During his time in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Ohtani’s exceptional performances garnered him numerous accolades. His remarkable achievements include multiple All-Star selections, winning the prestigious Rookie of the Year award, and earning the title of the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2016.

When Ohtani played for the Fighters, he proudly donned the number #11 jersey, symbolizing his dedication to the team. However, upon joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, he decided to switch to wearing #17, signifying a new chapter in his career as he took on new challenges in the MLB.

Shohei Ohtani In The MLB

On December 8, 2017, Ohtani reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels, and ever since, he has been an integral part of their team. Prior to the season, the Angels made a notable decision to utilize Ohtani’s exceptional talents both as a pitcher and a hitter.

Taking the field on Opening Day, March 29, Ohtani assumed the role of designated hitter in the game against the Oakland Athletics. Just a few days later, on April 1, he made his debut as a pitcher, impressively striking out six hitters in six innings and conceding only three runs, securing his first win in Major League Baseball (MLB). Notably, on April 3, Ohtani further showcased his hitting prowess by smacking his first MLB home run – a remarkable 397-foot three-run blast off pitcher Josh Tomlin.

However, during his MLB career, Ohtani experienced a setback when he landed on the disabled list for the first time due to a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his right elbow on June 8. To address the injury, he underwent stem-cell and platelet-rich plasma injections, aiming for a swift recovery. Remarkably, Ohtani demonstrated his resilience and talent by breaking the MLB home run record for a Japanese rookie on September 7, smashing his 19th homer of the season.

In his remarkable debut MLB season, Ohtani showcased an impressive array of skills, boasting a batting average of .285, a .361 on-base percentage, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs, and an impressive 10 stolen bases. His explosive start made him the second-fastest Angels rookie to reach the milestone of 20 home runs, a feat that only Babe Ruth had accomplished before as the sole MLB player with 10 pitching appearances and 20 homers in a single season. Recognizing his immense talent, Ohtani was awarded the prestigious American League Rookie of the Year title on November 12.

After undergoing “Tommy John” surgery  – ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow, Ohtani made a triumphant return on May 7, 2019, as he stepped up to bat as a designated hitter against the Detroit Tigers. In a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in June, he made history by becoming the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle in MLB.

However, the journey was not without its challenges. In July 2020, it was revealed that Ohtani had a flexor strain in his right elbow, leading to a decision by Angels manager Joe Maddon to refrain him from pitching for the rest of the season.

Determined to improve, Ohtani utilized the offseason after the 2019 and 2020 MLB seasons to focus on self-improvement. He committed himself to a rigorous training regimen, adjusting his diet and engaging in intense squatting exercises to strengthen his lower half and build muscle. Embracing the power of data and technology, Ohtani sought training and recovery optimization at Driveline Baseball, a renowned player-development destination.

In the 2021 season, Ohtani received a momentous decision, as he was allowed to play without any limitations or restrictions. This was significant as he was a rare two-way player, excelling in both pitching and hitting roles.

His exceptional talent and versatility left a significant impact on the game, prompting MLB to introduce a new rule on March 22, 2022. The “Ohtani rule” allows a pitcher in the batting order to continue as a designated hitter after being pulled from the mound. This enabled Ohtani to remain in the game and occupy his customary DH spot instead of being moved to a defensive position like the outfield, a scenario that had occurred seven times during the 2021 season.

David Burke

A computer science graduate living in London, David is an MLB, NFL and NHL fan and general sports-nerd who loves analyzing data to glean useful insights, writing about sports and cheering for underdog.