Baseball hasn’t seen a player with such prowess at the plate and on the mound since Babe Ruth…and “The Babe” certainly couldn’t run as fast and smooth as “Sho Time” does! Ohtani was a high school phenom unlike any other in Japan, and absolutely lived up to the hype. In five breathtaking seasons playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Ohtani accumulated enough awards for a lifetime, including:
Japan Series champion (2016)
5× NPB All-Star (2013–2017)
Pacific League MVP (2016)
2× Pacific League Pitcher Best Nine (2015–2016)
Designated Hitter Best Nine (2016)
Pacific League ERA leader (2015)
Pacific League Battery Award, with Shota Ono (2015)
Then, in 2018, it was on to MLB’s Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani turned down the opportunity to reach free agency and earn a more lucrative contract to be able to test himself earlier against MLB hitters and pitchers. He knew that he was ready, and it showed, as he won the American League Rookie of the Year unanimously.
Since then, after overcoming some injures, he has emerged into unquestionably the best player in baseball. One of baseball’s most dominant pitchers on the mound is also one of its most feared at the plate. Ohtani put it all together in 2021, winning the American League’s MVP award unanimously. At just 27 years old (as of the start of the 2022 season), Ohtani has the potential to become one of baseball’s all-time greats.