Japanese phenom Shohei Otani to play for a MLB team that wants him as both pitcher and non-pitcher if he gets posted

(Translated. News article from Nikkan Sports.)

21 year old Japanese phenom, ace starting pitcher Shohei Otani of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters… just said in an interview that he will play for a Major league team that wants him as both pitcher/non-pitcher (outfielder or probably DH… just as long as he can bat). He really loves hitting, and he said by the time he gets posted, he wants to play for a team that wants him to bat or take the field, he is willing to accept even less money just for him to have a chance to play as pitcher/non-pitcher. Shohei Otani, who went 15-5 last year in 22 starts have a 2.24 ERA with 196 strikeouts in 160.2 innings pitched, and he was also the runner-up for the Sawamura award, his 2015 batting line was just .205/.356/.252, but the year before that… he hit .274/.505/.338 with 10 homeruns and 35 RBI’s in 212 at bats. You can see his other NPB league stats here. Start the countdown, just 3/4 years left for him to get posted… Another note: Shohei Otani has the fastest fastball speed record in the NPB among Japanese pitchers with 162 kph, breaking Tokyo Yakult Swallows starting pitcher Yoshinori Sato’s 161 kph fastball… also tying former Yomiuri Giants closer Marc Kroon’s 162 kph fastball.

Shohei Otani’s 2015 pitching highlights, see all his 196 K’s here.

See Otani’s 2014 homerun highlights.

Man, he’s definitely fun to watch. Now, I’m just hoping his rival Shintaro Fujinami, starting pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers would also follow suit.

11 thoughts on “Japanese phenom Shohei Otani to play for a MLB team that wants him as both pitcher and non-pitcher if he gets posted

  1. A competitive team isn’t going to play him in the field. He’ll probably be a good hitter for a pitcher, but if that is all he’s hitting in Japan, he’ll be a downgrade from anything else a team will be able to run out there.

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  2. Otani is known as the “Fastball Prince” in Japan.

    My dream is to see a two-way player in Major League Baseball. One that starts every fifth day and plays 1B or DH during the other four games.

    You see college teams commonly use players in this capacity, but once they hit professional ball, they are slotted into one role. Wichita State’s Darren Dreifort was one player I thought could do it, and the Dodgers used him as a pinch hitter in late-inning/extra-inning games when their bench was thin.

    It’s going to take a very special player in special circumstances to do it and my guess we won’t see it in our lifetimes. Bryce Harper threw 97 mph for College of Southern Nevada and he hasn’t thrown one pitch at the professional level, deemed too valuable of bat.

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    • After the Red Sox drafted Casey Kelly in the first round out of HS, they split his first full professional season where he pitched as a starter during the first half and played shortstop in the second half. However, he didn’t do both at the same time. Kelly didn’t hit in low Single-A so the Red Sox scrapped his shortstop trial and he became a full-time pitcher after that.

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  3. Very few if any franchises are going to indulge Shohei’s theatricality. They will, with relentless common sense, inform him that they regard him as a significant investment they will protect by using him one way or the other, period. If he pitches, which sounds most likely, about the only way he might see action as a pinch hitter is in one of those long extra inning games when the bench is either exhausted or in danger of being exhausted. He might also find himself spelling some everyday guys at the end of a hopeless blowout.

    Otherwise, if he has a yen for those American dollars, he’s going to have to decide which application he’s better at and stick with it.

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    • During some of the weeks in the previous regular season, Hideki Kuriyama, manager of Nippon Ham, uses Otani to bat DH play the outfield or to pinch-hit in some of their games before or after his start… They have some sort of scheduling on when they’re planning to use Otani to bat or field. In this upcoming weeks of the 2016 NPB season, there were sources (I think Nikkan sports was the one who covered this) close to the organization saying that Kuriyama is planning to use Otani as a hitter for approximately 5 games in key match-ups, and 1 game to start as pitcher.

      Though I see him much more of a pitcher than a hitter, the dude really loves to bat for some reason… (I think his passion for batting probably grew because of his rivalry with Fujinami during their highschool years, and the time he hit that homerun against him in the Koshien tourney… I dunno, or maybe he just see himself as a dual player.) But still, if he were to achieve that pitcher/non-pitcher dream, it will be a pretty cool sight to see.

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  4. Pingback: Players soon to be in the MLB, International prospects in Asia | Hardball Conversations

  5. Pingback: Shohei Otani caught the attention of the San Diego Padres in Arizona, during batting practice | Fan Interference

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