The Paw Print

Shohei Ohtani’s Historic First Week

Kyle Coffee

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No one has ever seen the hype that this 23 year old Japanese player has created. That’s because of his supreme talent and unique set of abilities that no one else can do. His ability to pitch as hard as Aroldis Chapman and to hit as far as Bryce Harper is reminiscent of Babe Ruth, who many consider as the greatest baseball player of all time. In Ohtani’s first two weeks, he has lived up to the hype.

In his first MLB action, on Opening Day, he got his first hit as a designated hitter, a soft single into right field. Although that was his only hit of the game, he was ready to build upon that first experience to develop a consistent approach to the plate and assimilate to American pitchers. Fast forward to Sunday where he would make history, his first start in the majors. Using his exceptional splitter and 100 MPH fastball, he was able to deceive the Oakland A’s and strike out six while only giving up three runs on a home run from Matt Chapman. For his first start of his career, Ohtani impressed and displayed the potential everyone saw on him.

Marissa Caldwell (11) was wowed by this performance saying, “He was incredible! The way he was able to throw nasty pitches over and over again amazed me.”

Between his starts, Ohtani was consistently getting starts at DH and he made the most of them. On April 3rd, the Angels were facing the Indians, and in the bottom of the 1st, the young prodigy stepped up to the plate with two runners on and two outs. How does he respond in a situation like this, Ohtani blasts a three-run shot over the right field wall for the first homer of his career. As he rounded the bases, everyone was on their feet as they just witnessed history.

Shaun Dunn commented on Ohtani’s first homer saying, “I watched every at bat he had, waiting for him to do it. I wanted to be there when he hit it so I was pretty excited to see it happen live.”

But Ohtani didn’t start there, the next day, the team was going up against last year’s Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber, who had a good chance to shut down their lineup, including their boy wonder. Through four innings, it seemed like that was the case until Ohtani stepped up to bat and homered off the ace to tie the game at two, later winning the game. It’s difficult, even for a team’s best hitter, to do damage against Kluber, but the kid came through.

The next day, Ohtani was once again facing the A’s and he hit a massive shot over the centerfield wall that ended up going 449 feet. This home run proved the power that Shohei possessed in Japan could translate to major league pitching. After a hot start on the plate, Ohtani’s next appearance would be his pitching debut at his home park, which would be in front of a sold out LA crowd.

Ohtani started off his day strong by striking out the side the same way he was doing it before, with a dominant splitter and his fastball. He didn’t stop there, as he kept decimating hitter after hitter, not allowing a single man on base through six innings. The crowd was roaring after every K that he delivered to the poor hitters. After 7 and a third perfect innings, Ohtani allowed his first base runner of the day after a single by Marcus Semien. Once he finished the seventh unscathed, everyone knew that his day was done and paid their respects with a standing ovation.

Josh Zimmerling (11) reacted to his dominant start saying, “He was lights out. Nobody could touch him at all. I’m excited to see him keep it up.”

Ohtani’s strong week earned him American League player of the week honors and immense amounts of praise from all over the league. If Ohtani can keep up this performance for the rest of the season, his potential is through the roof.

 

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