Anyone following Major League Baseball has likely heard of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese phenom continues to make waves with his unique playstyle and superstar attributes. 

Read along to learn more about Ohtani's background and trajectory as one of modern baseball's hottest sensations.


Like many hopeful baseball players from the Eastern hemisphere, Ohtani's journey into the limelight began in Japan in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Ohtani stunned viewers here, just as he had before throughout his high school career.

When an international hype began to build around Ohtani, he took the opportunity to come to America and join Major League Baseball. Since then, Ohtani has broken records and captured the attention of America's most avid baseball fanatics.

Impressive Statistics

When breaking down the specifics of what makes Ohtani such a special player, it is worth mentioning he is what experts refer to as a two-way player. This means that Ohtani pitches the ball, but also shows his talents off on the other side of the ball as a hitter.

His hitting is so immaculate that he currently holds the top spot for home runs in the 2021 season, recording 28 home runs over 75 games. He also holds the second-best batting percentage in the league. As a pitcher, Ohtani boasts a 3.18 ERA and156 strikeouts in over 130 innings.

Ohtani is known as an excellent pinch hitter due to his unique blend of skill and adaptability. Similar to Ohtani, players using the right wooden baseball bat benefit from added coordination, balance, and dexterity when taking the plate. 

Sure, talent goes a long way, as proven by Ohtani's pedigree, but having access to the right tools and equipment never hurts. 

Unique Traits

When he takes the mound to pitch, Shohei Ohtani threatens the confidence of even the most accomplished batters. Ohtani has a dazzling array of pitches, including all of the classics such as a mean fastball and a slippery curveball. 

However, the Japanese star is perhaps most well-known for a nasty slider that has proven to be nearly unhittable for many of the league's players.

On top of this, Ohtani has a reputation as a baserunner. He's one of the faster baserunners in the MLB, and Ohtani's running IQ is certainly exceptional. His speed is in the top percentile of the league and he has stolen 10 bases this season alone.

What He Means for Baseball

Major League Baseball has long been dominated by a few singular archetypes. Big sluggers like Mark Macguire and Babe Ruth bring showmanship to the sport while crafty pitchers such as Nolan Ryan draw fans in with their measured approach. 

What's so alluring about Shohei Ohtani is that he brings a little bit of everything to the table, both for casual fans and enthusiasts.

Similar to Ichiro Suzuki, Ohtani has had to surmount additional difficulties and barriers as an Asian baseball player. It is precisely this adversity that makes him that much more transformational as a player.

Cultural Icon

From huge endorsements and sponsors to a venerable explosion on the secondary sports trading card market, Shohei Ohtani's recent success in the MLB highlights his stature as a cultural icon. 

Many people are surprised to learn that Ohtani actually leads all MLB players in terms of his endorsements. His impressive portfolio includes sponsors and endorsements from names such as Oakley and Topps.

Ohtani's rookie cards also go for a pretty penny on sports trading card sites such as eBay, Mercari, and the Beckett Marketplace. One Ohtani rookie, a pristine version of the 2018 Topps Update Shohei Ohtani Gold card, recently sold at auction for a price of $810.

These sales and others add to the buzz around Ohtani's name and expected future value as a player and figure. With strong stats, an inspiring story, and a rising reputation, Shohei Ohtani is making huge waves in the world of baseball.


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