Shohei Ohtani is displaying all of his talents so far this season, tantalizing baseball fans everywhere with his hitting and pitching abilities. The kid gloves are off this season, with Ohtani playing in all 37 Angels games this season through Friday, and standing out at two full-time jobs simultaneously.
He homered and doubled in the Angels’ series opener Friday, the former an opposite-field home run over the Green Monster on what appeared to be a flick of Ohtani’s wrist.
Ohtani continues to impact the team in many ways.
At the plate he’s hitting .264/.309/.600, a 153 wRC+, and his 11 home runs are tied for second in the majors.
On the mound he has a 2.10 ERA and 3.57 FIP in five starts, and his 36.4-percent strikeout rate is 10th-highest in the majors among pitchers with at least 20 innings.
Scott Miller at the New York Times wrote about the unleashing of Ohtani in his fourth major league season, with Ohtani telling him, “I came here to do the two-way thing. That’s a big motivation for me, to try to prove to everyone I’m capable of that.”
Miller’s story in print is especially stunning, thanks to vivid photos showcasing Ohtani’s array of skills (and that’s even before getting into his exceptional speed):
How is your Friday going? @ScottMillerBbl made his @nytimes homepage debut and has the cover of Friday's @NYTSports section. So I'd say his is going better.— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) May 14, 2021
Read Scott's take on Shohei Ohtani, baseball's must-watch two-way star. https://t.co/p7Y41AjbfW pic.twitter.com/xJawnHTVbh
As a pitcher Ohtani has been wild, with more walks than innings pitched entering his Tuesday start in Houston. But he opened eyes with seven strong innings and only one walk with 10 strikeouts, his best pitching start in three years. But that wasn’t all in that game that made people take notice.
“I don’t think anybody knows what this guy’s ultimate limits will be,” the greatest Angels right fielder of them all, Tim Salmon, told the Weird and Wild column Thursday, after watching what we watched. “I mean, that was pretty amazing. He went out and played right field. And it was like, `Right field? What?’”
Rhett Bollinger at MLBcom shares a number of Ohtani fun facts, including things that even Babe Ruth never did, but my favorite is this: “He even reached as high as 101 mph in his first start against the White Sox and also clobbered a home run with an exit velocity of 115 mph in the same inning.”
A truly unique player in the sport.
David Fletcher is trying to shake out of an early-season slump, writes Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register.
Also from the latter Fletcher, manager Joe Maddon says the Angels’ pitching isn’t as bad as it seems.
Tess Taruskin at FanGraphs has some notes on Angels minor league outfielder Brandon Marsh’s sparkling 2021 Triple-A debut.
After the unceremonious divorce between Albert Pujols and the Angels, Molly Knight at The Athletic looked at a bunch of recent Hall of Famers and how (and where) they ended their careers.
Now that Pujols is officially a free agent, the rumor mill has started. As for a possible reunion in St. Louis:
The Cardinals have had limited internal conversations about bringing back Albert Pujols,a free agent as of yesterday, I’m told. Nothing definitive. They have not reached out to Pujol’s camp. But it is a topic they have conversed internally about. Still appears to be a long shot.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) May 14, 2021