New York Yankees: The Shohei Show
Japan’s latest baseball phenom, 23-year old Shohei Ohtani is coming to MLB.
Not only can Ohtani throw a 100 mph fast ball, but he can also hit one out of the park.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, this 6’4 future import currently starts on the mound and in the outfield for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan.
But something else makes Ohtani even more appealing?
His price is right.
See, under MLB’s new CBA (Collective Barging Agreement) rules, Ohtani is still two-years shy of qualifying for more than a $3.5 million signing bonus. He would get paid a league minimum rookie contract. Plus, Ohtani would be six-seasons away from hitting full-blown, unrestricted free agency.
Little risk, with a possibly HUGE reward will assuredly generate interest from all 30 MLB teams to get their hands on Japan’s Babe Ruth.
Looking at Ohtani’s most current full-season stats from 2016, he seems like the real deal.
Over 20 starts, Ohtani finished with a 1.86 ERA, racked up 174 strikeouts in over 140 innings pitched. That means he averaged just shy of twelve strikes over nine-innings.
Ohtani only gave up four homers and 33 runs from the 584 batters he faced. But please keep in mind that Japanese players are not typical power hitters, as physically they much smaller compared to the average MLB player. So, as they say, take the four homers with a grain of salt.
Next up as a hitter, Ohtani had a .322 batting average, with 22 homer sand 67 RBI in 323 at-bats. He walked 54 times, and stuck out 98.
Ohtani’s pitching seems more polished than his bat, as along with the high-heat of this fastball, he features a plus splitter that is effective against hitters on both sides of the plate. Add in a nasty slider, and that is an ace ready to face off against the best MLB has to offer.
Now the only question New York Yankees fans want to know is will Shohei Ohtani be in Bronx next season?
In my opinion, the answer is yes and my three reasons are simple.
1 – Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner goal of staying under the luxury tax cap for the 2018 season can happen if they sign Ohtani. If this wasn’t the case, right or wrong, the possibility of Ohtani in pinstripes wold be zero.
2- My sincerest apologies for sounding too much like a Yankees fan but playing in the Bronx….enough said.
3 – Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and retired slugger Hideki Matsui (aka Godzilla) will both be in Ohtani’s ear providing first-hand knowledge of what playing in the biggest media market and living in the greatest city in the USA is like for a professional athlete.
I believe these three-reasons are plenty enough to get anyone to become a Yankee, but obviously the decision is Ohtani’s to make.
Plus there is also the reality that making it the majors from Japan might not work, but the worry in this case is very minor.
Bottom line is obtaining a talent such as Shohei Ohtani, sans the financial burden and with the allotment of time to allow him to develop is what all MLB team owners fantasize about.
So let the Shohei Show begin….