Hi-Top Debate – Ohtani v Ohtani: Is Shohei Ohtani a Better Hitter or Pitcher?

Shohei Ohtani is an UNREAL baseball player. And by “baseball” player we mean the complete game – every facet. He excels at it all. There’s lots of guys that are great two way players, standouts at the plate and out in the field but everyone one of them is clearly either a better hitter or better fielder at the end of the day.

But for Ohtani that question isn’t so easily answered. As a hitter he leads the Majors in Home Runs. As a pitcher he leads in opponent’s Batting Average.

There’s no longer any questions about Ohtani at the plate. He’s a world class power hitter. Just look at these charts (via Baseball Savant)

Shohei Ohtani absolutely CRUSHES baseballs. His barrel % numbers, his exit velocity – top notch. And just look where his HRs go. It never ceases to amaze that he hits almost all of his dongs to straight away Centerfield. And he doesn’t just barely clear the fence here folks. He’s going 400+ on the regular. This an All-Time display of strength and power. It’s undeniable. We have the evidence on Ohtani the hitter.

Ohtani the pitcher…not so much. The problem here is we just don’t have the reps. When he does pitch he awes and amazes and the numbers we do have are pretty great:

He obviously has standout stuff. I’m not sure what this next chart shows exactly but it looks cool as hell:

The dude has 5 pitches and can locate them all over the place. His strikeout levels and opposing BA are All-Star level. There’s just two things that have hampered him as a pitcher – staying healthy and walks. My guess would be that the two issues are intertwined.

The question is – How many innings are a reasonable amount to expect from a guy that’s also your every day DH? Right now Ohtani is kind of a Sixth Starter for the Angels when his arm is healthy. If your standard ace makes 25-35 starts a year what can we ask from Ohtani? 15-20 starts?

Hopefully the Base Ball Gawds bless us and we get to see a full year of Ohtani the Pitcher. Until then the Lil’ Dogg declares a “Continuation Without Finding” in the case of Ohtani v Ohtani!

One comment

  1. My favorite baseball player! I love this guy. I feel like he will walk far fewer when he has had more major league innings – he has been out for so long after that awful Tommy John surgery, that he just hasn’t had much time on the mount recently. He is fine once he settles down. It makes me laugh that if he is pitching he settles down once he has scored himself a run or two! Keeping him healthy is they key. I married a Japanese guy, and lived there for many years – culturally Shohei is primed to want to play to his fullest as often as possible. He will absolutely push himself beyond the limits of sensible. As long as Maddon doesn’t let him, and insists he rests, or at least takes it easier, they are going to risk problems with that arm.
    Japanese high school ball is brutal – kids are pushed to pitch hundred of pitches, game after game. There is no arm health. I’ve watched kids blow their arms out pitching (might do a post on it if there is interest). Grandpa used to joke being in baseball is ‘like the military, it is war.’ Sho-kun is amazing. Those stats! The kid is Babe Ruth!


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