Shohei Ohtani, The Two Way Player Nobody Expected

Shohei Ohtani has to be one of the most influential players in all of baseball by the sheer amount of time he’s managed to surprise everyone. Ohtani was born on July 5, 1994, and he began playing baseball in his second year of elementary school with his father as his coach. In Japan, he had already made a name for himself by posting great pitching and hitting, and by the time he was in seventh grade, he recorded all but one of 18 outs in a six inning regional championship game. During his time at Hanamaki Higashi High School in northern Japan, he competed as a swimmer and played baseball while living on campus. He threw a 99 mph pitch as an 18 year old in a Japanese national high school baseball championship tournament.


In 2012, he expressed interest in playing for the MLB rather than playing professionally in Japan. Knowing the slim chances of being drafted into the MLB, he signed with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters on Oct. 21, 2012. He started as a 2-way player there and put up a .274 batting average as a batter as well as a 2.61 ERA as a pitcher. Due to this, he was selected to play in the 2013 all star game. For the next few years, he continued to collect numerous awards Japan such as being the second NPB All-Star selection in 2014, the Pacific League Pitcher Best Nine and ERA leader in 2015, and the Pacific League Most Valuable Player in 2016. . In 2017-2018 his dreams became a reality. He was informed that he was going to be posted into the MLB, but before that, he had to get surgery on his right ankle. On Nov. 21, 2017 the MLB and the NPB made a posting agreement for Ohtani. Finally, in 2018, he started playing for the Los Angeles Angels. And he definitely lived up to his expectations. In 2018, he won AL Rookie of the Year and received the AL MVP in 2021. 


Shohei Ohtani continues to be a very influential player and he brings his team to victory, but he has also proven that it’s possible to be a two-way player in the MLB. He is a hard working machine on the mound and a powerful hitter at the plate who has made a name for himself and sparked hope and inspiration into others.