Who is LA Angels' Shohei Ohtani and why is he compared to baseball's great Babe Ruth?

Who is LA Angels' Shohei Ohtani and why is he compared to baseball's great Babe Ruth?

Here are five reasons people are raving about this Japanese player that can both pitch and hit


Ohtani is both an ace pitcher and a slugger at bat.
Photo: Kyodo

Shohei Ohtani is a 23-year-old Japanese professional baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels for the American Major League Baseball (MLB) – the most prestigious baseball league in the world.

Although it is only his first year playing in the MLB, this young stud has been making headlines left and right as baseball’s next big superstar. So, without further ado, here are 5 reasons why everyone is talking about this athlete:

His multiple talents

In baseball, you have pitchers – those who throw the ball to strike out opponents, and batters – those who strike the ball with a baseball bat. Usually, a player will specialise in one position. However, Ohtani is one of those rare examples of somebody that can play in both positions, and do them both extremely well.

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His incredible potential

Throughout his MLB career so far, Ohtani has already broken a few records. In his second game pitching, he forced 12 strikeouts, which was a new MLB record. He has also become one of three players to hit a home run in three consecutive games and pitch a game with more than 10 strikeouts in the same season. His early brilliance has lead people to draw comparisons to all-time baseball star Babe Ruth, who is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time.

His good looks

Ohtani's boyish good looks are another reason he's so popular.
Photo: AFP

The fact that Ohtani is still in his early 20s, good looking, and incredibly upbeat and charming is probably why he is absolutely adored by Japanese fans, especially the girls. This, combined with his talent, is making it so that even American fans and media are finding it difficult not to fawn over him.

His team loves him

“I think he’s mature beyond his years,” Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia said on Sunday. “He’s been playing at a very high level of baseball from a very young age.

Scioscia added, “He’s very confident, he works very, very hard at what he needs to do, and there’s a lot on his plate. But he has the talent to do it.” Not to mention, he’s been helping the Angels win games, as they sit atop of their division with a record of nine wins and three losses.

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His humble personality

Many fans like Ohtani because of his “innocent” persona, perhaps due to his modest upbringing. Unlike most Japanese MLB players, he grew up in a small farm town – called Oshu.

Bilingual baseball writer Brad Lefton, who has been following Ohtani since he was playing in Japan, said, “There’s still an innocence to him. He’s doing it his own way, which I think connects with people because it’s refreshing.”

Right before he signed with the Angels, Ohtani said the following: “The only thing I can promise you is that I’m going to play as hard as I can all the time and give 100 per cent. Hopefully, by doing that, I can inspire numerous people, maybe in their personal life, if they’re having other issues, and cheer them up by watching me play. That would probably be the most honourable thing about playing baseball.”

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Why everyone’s talking about Shohei Ohtani


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