Shohei Ohtani (大谷 翔平, Ōtani Shōhei, born July 5, 1994) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Nicknamed "Shotime",[2] he has previously played in MLB for the Los Angeles Angels and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Because of his elite contributions both as a hitter and as a pitcher, a rarity for two-way players, Ohtani's peak is widely considered among the greatest in baseball history, with some comparing it favorably to the early career of Babe Ruth.[3][4][5][6][7]

Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani in 2024
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 17
Pitcher / Designated hitter
Born: (1994-07-05) July 5, 1994 (age 29)
Ōshū, Iwate, Japan
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Professional debut
NPB: March 29, 2013, for the Hokkaidō Nippon-Ham Fighters
MLB: March 29, 2018, for the Los Angeles Angels
NPB statistics
(through 2017 season)
Win–loss record42–15
Earned run average2.52
Strikeouts624
Batting average.286
Home runs48
Runs batted in166
MLB statistics
(through April 12, 2024)
Win–loss record38–19
Earned run average3.01
Strikeouts606
Batting average.276
Home runs175
Runs batted in446
Teams
Career highlights and awards
NPB
MLB
International
Medals
Men's baseball
Representing  Japan
World Baseball Classic
Gold medal – first place 2023 Miami Team
2015 WBSC Premier12
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Tokyo Team
Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani's name in kanji
Japanese name
Kanji大谷 翔平
Hiraganaおおたに しょうへい

Considered early on as an elite two-way player, Ohtani was the first pick of the Fighters in the 2012 draft. He played in NPB for the Fighters from 2013 through 2017 as a pitcher and an outfielder, and won the 2016 Japan Series with them. The Fighters posted Ohtani to MLB after the 2017 season, and he signed with the Angels, soon winning the 2018 American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award.

Following an injury-plagued 2019 and 2020, Ohtani had a 2021 season widely considered to be historic, as he became the first in the history of MLB with 10+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases as a hitter and 100+ strikeouts and 10+ pitching appearances as a pitcher in the same season, while also holding at least a share of the major league lead in home runs in 14 starts.[8] For his efforts, he was awarded the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player Award. He followed this in 2022 by becoming the first player in the modern era to qualify for both the hitting and pitching leaderboards in one season, reaching the thresholds of 3.1 plate appearances and one inning pitched per game with 586 at-bats and 166 innings pitched.[9]

Ohtani completed yet another historic campaign in 2023, becoming the first player in MLB history with 10 wins and 40 home runs in a season,[10] the first Japanese-born player to win a major league home run title, leading the American League with 44 home runs,[11] the first player in MLB history to win MVP by unanimous vote twice[12] and the first Japanese player to have the most popular Major League Baseball jersey sales.[13] After the 2023 season, Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers, the largest contract in professional sports history.[14]

Internationally, Ohtani represents Samurai Japan. At the 2023 World Baseball Classic, he won the MVP Award for the tournament following Japan's victory over the United States. The 2023 final was one of the most-watched baseball games in history,[15] culminating with Ohtani striking out Angels teammate and USA captain Mike Trout on a full count, securing a 3–2 win and Japan's third title.[16]

Early life

Ohtani was born to Kayoko and Toru Ohtani in Mizusawa (now part of Ōshū), Iwate, Japan, on July 5, 1994. His mother was a national-level badminton player in high school and his father worked at a local automobile manufacturing plant and was an amateur baseball player who played in the Japanese Industrial League.[17][18] He is the youngest of three children. He has one older sister, Yuka, and one older brother, Ryuta, who is also an amateur baseball player in the Japanese Industrial League.[17] In Japan, Ohtani was known as a "yakyū shōnen" (野球少年; "baseball boy")—a kid who lives, eats and breathes baseball.[18] Coached by his father, he displayed an aptitude for the game at an early age.[19] He began playing baseball in his second year of elementary school, and as a seventh-grader, Ohtani recorded all but one of 18 outs in a six-inning regional championship game.[17][18]

Amateur career

As a teenager, Ohtani could have played baseball for any powerhouse high school team in big cities such as Osaka or Yokohama.[18] Instead, he opted to stay local, selecting Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate Prefecture, Northern Japan,[20] the same high school as pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, whom he admired;[21] Ohtani competed there as a swimmer[22] and played baseball.[17] Ohtani's high school baseball coach, Hiroshi Sasaki, said that he was a fast swimmer who "could have made the Olympics."[23]

Under Sasaki's guidance, Hanamaki Higashi's players lived on campus, returning home for only six days a year. Sasaki would assign toilet cleaning chores to Ohtani, to teach the youth pitcher humility.[18] In 2012, Ohtani threw a 160 km/h (99 mph) fastball as an 18-year-old high school pitcher, which at the time, had set a Japanese high school baseball record until it was surpassed by Rōki Sasaki's 163 km/h (101 mph) fastball in 2018.[24] Ohtani threw the pitch in the Japanese national high school baseball championship tournament, commonly called Summer Koshien.[25] In the 2012 18U Baseball World Championship, Ohtani had an 0–1 win–loss record with 16 strikeouts, eight walks, five hits, five runs, and a 4.35 earned run average (ERA) in 10+13 innings pitched.[26]

Professional career

Ohtani expressed a desire to move directly to the major leagues after high school and received interest from numerous teams including the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.[25][27] On October 21, 2012, he announced that he would pursue a career in Major League Baseball rather than turn professional in Japan.[28] The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters decided to draft him in the 2012 NPB Draft nevertheless, despite knowing that there was a high likelihood he would not play for them. After an exclusive negotiating window between him and the Fighters, Ohtani announced that he would sign with the Fighters and spend some years in Japan before a possible MLB move.[19][29] Hokkaido said it would allow Ohtani to serve as a pitcher and position player; the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had become Ohtani's top-choice MLB team, were not prepared to let him play both ways.[30] He was assigned the jersey number 11, previously worn by Yu Darvish.[31]

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

Rookie year (2013)

Ohtani made his debut at age 18 in the Fighters' season-opening game on March 29, 2013, playing as a right fielder.[32] He was selected for a Pacific League roster spot for the 2013 All-star game. As a pitcher, he finished the season with a 3–0 record in 11 starts. As a rookie Ohtani was used in both the outfield (leading the Fighters with 51 games in right) and as a pitcher.[33] He was the second Nippon Pro Baseball rookie drafted out of high school the previous year to be used as both a pitcher and position player, following Kikuo Tokunaga in 1951; Ohtani was the first to start in both roles. He was the first NPB pitcher since Takao Kajimoto in 1963 to bat 3rd, 4th, or 5th and the first rookie hurler to do so since Junzo Sekine in 1950. He was the second player, following Osamu Takechi (also 1950), to start a game as a pitcher, bat in the heart of the order (3rd through 5th), and get a hit and a run batted in (RBI) in that game. He missed time during the year with a right ankle sprain and right cheekbone fracture.

For the season, he was 3–0 with a 4.23 ERA, 33 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 61+23 innings. and hit .238/.284/.376 in 204 plate appearances.[2] He had seven outfield assists to one error. His 8 hit batsmen tied Manabu Mima, Tadashi Settsu, Hideaki Wakui and Ryoma Nogami for 5th in the 2013 Pacific League. Ohtani received 4 of the 233 votes for the 2013 Nippon Professional Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (Pacific League), tying Tatsuya Sato for a distant second behind Takahiro Norimoto.[34] During his five-year tenure with the Fighters, Ohtani opted to live in the team's provided dormitories, while his parents oversaw his finances.[18]

Second NPB All-Star selection (2014)

 
Ohtani batting in 2013 for the Fighters

Throughout the entire season, Ohtani performed double-duty as a pitcher and outfielder, utilizing his strong throwing arm as well as his impressive batting skills. As a hitter, he batted .274, with 28 extra-base hits (including 10 home runs), 31 RBIs, and a .842 on-base plus slugging percentage in 212 at-bats. As a pitcher, he was 11–4 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts and struck out 179 (third in NPB) in 155.1 innings. His 10.4 K/9 was the best in the league and opponents hit just .223 against him.

In a September 7 game against the Orix Buffaloes, he homered to straightaway center at Kyocera Dome to become the first Japanese player to reach double digits in both home runs and wins.[35][36] He tossed a 1–0 shutout against Orix on September 13 and became the first pitcher out of high school to record a 1–0 shutout victory within his first two years for the Fighters since Toshiaki Moriyasu in 1967. He also became the first pitcher out of high school to notch two shutout victories within his first two years in the NPB since Yu Darvish.[37]

During the July 2014 Mazda All-Star Game, he threw a 162 km/h (101 mph) fastball in the bottom of the first inning, setting a new record for the fastest official pitch thrown by a Japanese pitcher, beating the record set by the Yakult Swallows' Yoshinori Sato in 2010 (161 km/h (100 mph)).[38] The jersey he wore during the game sold for 1,752,000 yen ($17,000), making it the top-seller at the All-Star 2014 Charity Auction. The proceeds were donated to three Tohoku earthquake children's relief funds.[39]

On October 5 against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Ohtani recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese pitcher in an official game, tying Marc Kroon's allord for NPB pitchers. The pitch came against lead-off hitter Akaminai Ginji in the 1st inning. With the count 0–1, Ohtani threw a fastball that registered 162 km/h (101 mph) on the stadium radar gun and shattered Ginji's bat in half. He also hit 162 km/h twice against the second hitter, Aoi Enomoto. Of the 15 pitches he threw in the first inning, eight were in the 160s; 99s in MPH.[40]

During the postseason, Ohtani was chosen to become a member of the national team, dubbed Samurai Japan, and participated in the Suzuki All-Star Series,[41] a five-game friendly competition with a squad of major leaguers. In Game 1, he pitched one shutout inning in relief, retiring three consecutive batters. He started Game 5 at the Sapporo Dome and, although his team ultimately lost (3–1), he wasn't charged with an earned run (he gave up two unearned), and of the 12 outs he recorded in four innings, he got seven via strikeout. He threw mostly fastballs, even clocked one at 160 km/h (99 mph), occasional curveballs, and a few forkballs in the mid-140s, including one he threw perfectly in the second inning to strike out Tampa Bay Rays star Ben Zobrist.[42]

In December, he became the second player out of high school in NPB history to reach 100M yen in salary in his third year, after Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2001. His new contract more than tripled his previous salary estimated at 30M yen.[19]

Pacific League Pitcher Best Nine and ERA leader (2015)

 
Ohtani with the Fighters in 2015

2015 marked Ohtani's third professional season (and second full season). Though his offensive production declined somewhat (five home runs), his performance on the mound was among the best in the league, earning him the starter role in the 2015 All-Star Game and the pitching spot in the end-of-year Pacific League Best Nine awards. Ohtani started the 2015 NPB All-Star Game 1 for the PL. He went two innings and fanned two, allowing one run (on a double by Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and a single by Jose Lopez), relieved by Nishi with a 1–0 deficit. The PL would lose 8–6 but he got a no-decision. He finished the season 15–5 with a 2.24 ERA, 196 strikeouts, and only 100 hits in 160+23 innings. He led the PL in ERA (.14 over Nishi), tied Wakui for the most wins, and was second in strikeouts (19 behind Norimoto, though he threw 34 fewer innings). He rarely played the field but did see some action at DH, hitting .202/.252/.376 with five home runs in 109 at-bats. He made the Best Nine as the PL's top hurler. He finished third in MVP voting again, placing behind Yanagita and Shogo Akiyama for the 2015 Pacific League MVP. Ohtani placed third in MVP voting (first among pitchers) and was one of three candidates considered for the 2015 Sawamura Award, given annually to the top pitcher in either league.[43]

Ohtani led the league in wins and winning percentage with a 15–5 record in just 22 starts, and his 2.24 ERA, five complete games, and three shutouts were also the best in the league. All these stats were career bests, as were his 196 strikeouts, 0.909 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts per nine innings.[44]

Ohtani was dominant for the Japanese national team in the 2015 Premier 12. He hit 100 mph while blowing away eventual champion South Korea (10 K, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 R in 6 IP) before Norimoto was relieved. Facing South Korea again in the semifinals, he was even sharper (11 K, 0 BB, 1 HB, 1 H in 7 IP). He did not give up a hit until Keun-woo Jeong singled in the seventh inning and had the most whiffs in a game for the first Premier 12 ever.[45] Norimoto relieved with a 3–0 lead but he and two other relievers combined to allow four in the 9th to blow it as Japan fell in a shocking defeat. He tied for the event lead in ERA and led in strikeouts while allowing the lowest average by a starting pitcher. He was named the All-Star SP for the event (Sho Nakata was the only other member of Samurai Japan to be picked for the All-Star team).[citation needed]

Pacific League Most Valuable Player and first Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize (2016)

In 104 games and 382 plate appearances in 2016, Ohtani hit 22 home runs. He also hit 18 doubles, 67 RBI, batted .322 with an OBP of .416, scored 65 runs, and had seven stolen bases. He won the Best Nine award as the designated hitter.[46] Ohtani was the same dominant pitcher on the mound. In 21 games pitched, he had a career-low ERA of 1.86. He had a 10–4 record, struck out 174 batters in 140 innings with 4 complete games and one shutout. He also won the Best Nine award as a pitcher and won the Pacific League MVP. He got nearly double as many votes as any other pitcher for the PL for the 2016 NPB All-Star Game; he had 300,025 while #2 Shota Takeda had 158,008.[47] He could not pitch in the event due to a blister on his finger but wound up starring as a designated hitter (DH).[48] In Game 1, he batted for DH Yuya Hasegawa and lined out in the 8th against Scott Mathieson. Starting at DH and hitting 5th in Game 2, he homered off Shoichi Ino in the 5th to start the PL comeback from a 3–0 deficit. He singled against Ryo Akiyoshi in the 7th and scored on a hit by Kenta Imamiya for a 4–3 lead. Coming up with a 5–4 deficit in the 8th, he singled off Shinji Tajima to bring in Shogo Akiyama with the tying run. He thus produced three of the PL's five runs in the 5–5 tie, earning him game MVP honors. He hit 165 km/h (102.5 mph) on the radar gun during the year, setting a new NPB record.[49] The record was broken by Thyago Vieira five years later, but he still holds the record for a Japanese player.

He finished the year at .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs in 382 plate appearances on offense and a 10–4 record and a 1.86 ERA on the mound with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. He tied for 8th in the PL in wins and was third in strikeouts (behind Norimoto and Kodai Senga).[50]

He led Nippon Ham to the 2016 Japan Series, but lost the opener to the Hiroshima Carp; he fanned 11 in 6 innings but allowed 3 runs, two on a homer by Brad Eldred and one on a steal of home by Seiya Suzuki. Down 2 games to 0, he came up big as the DH in Game 3, getting three hits, a run, and an RBI. In the bottom of the 10th, he singled off Daichi Osera score Nishikawa with the winner; Nippon Ham would take the next three games to win their second Japan Series title. Teammate Brandon Laird would win the Series MVP. Ohtani hit .375/.412/.625 with four doubles, doing more on offense than on the mound for the Series.[51]

He made the Best Nine as the top pitcher and top DH in the PL. He became the first player to receive the awards as both a pitcher and a hitter.[52] He topped four-time Cuban MVP Alfredo Despaigne easily at DH (190 votes to 47; three others combined for eight votes) but the vote at pitcher was closer (he had 111 of 245 votes, Ishikawa 69 and Tsuyoshi Wada 61). He was the runaway winner of the 2016 Pacific League Most Valuable Player Award, getting 253 of 254 first-place votes (Naoki Miyanishi got the other one) and one second-place vote. He had 1,268 vote points, to 298 for runner-up Laird.[53]

2017

In 2017, he played in 65 games, hitting .332 with eight homers and 31 RBIs while posting a 3–2 record, a 3.20 ERA, and 29 strikeouts as a pitcher.[54] In September, it was revealed that Ohtani would ask to be posted at the end of the season to play in Major League Baseball in 2018. However, before that could happen, he had surgery on his right ankle in early October. The injury had originally occurred in the 2016 Japan Series and had cost him a chance to play in the 2017 World Baseball Classic in addition to restricting his playing time during the season.[55][56] On November 21, 2017, MLB and NPB came to a posting agreement for Ohtani.[57]

Because he was under 25 years old, Ohtani was subjected to international signing rules. This capped his bonus at $3.557 million and limited him to a rookie salary scale, while the signing team also had to pay a $20 million posting fee to the Fighters. Ohtani narrowed his finalists to seven teams, signing with the Angels for a $2.315 million bonus.[58]

Los Angeles Angels

2018: AL Rookie of the Year

On December 9, 2017, Ohtani signed his deal with the Los Angeles Angels.[59] On December 13, it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with a first-degree UCL sprain in his right elbow and received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat the injury.[60]

 
Ohtani pitching in 2018

Before the start of the season, the Angels announced that they would use him as both a hitter and a pitcher.[61] Ohtani started as the designated hitter on Opening Day, March 29, against the Oakland Athletics, singling in his first at-bat off of Kendall Graveman.[62] On April 1, he made his pitching debut, striking out six batters in six innings while allowing three runs, to pick up his first MLB win.[63] On April 3, Ohtani hit his first MLB home run, a 397-foot three-run homer against Josh Tomlin.[64] On April 6, he hit his third home run in three days, becoming the first Angels rookie to do so.[65] In only his second start on the mound on April 8, Ohtani took a perfect game through 6⅓ innings before allowing a hit. Overall, Ohtani pitched seven scoreless innings while striking out 12.[66] On June 8, he was placed on the injured list for the first time in his MLB career due to a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his right elbow. He received platelet-rich plasma and stem-cell injections to treat the injury.[67]

Ohtani was activated from the injured list as a hitter on July 2[68] and on August 3, hit two home runs against the Cleveland Indians, marking his first career multiple-home run game and his first two home runs in a road game.[69] After not pitching for 11 weeks, Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced that Ohtani would start the game against the Houston Astros on September 2.[70] However, hampered by a tight back and sore finger he only lasted 2+13 innings in the game.[71]

Ohtani ended his first major league season with a batting average of .285, a .361 on-base-percentage, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases. In 10 starts on the mound, he notched a 4–2 record with a 3.31 ERA, 1.16 walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP), and 63 strikeouts.[72] His .564 slugging percentage ranked seventh overall among MLB players with at least 350 plate appearances for this season. He became the second-fastest Angels rookie to reach 20 home runs, and he joined Babe Ruth as the only MLB players with 10 pitching appearances and 20 homers in a season.[73] He also won the American League Rookie of the Month award twice; in April and in September.[74]

On September 3, it was revealed that Ohtani would undergo Tommy John surgery, after an MRI showed new damage to his UCL.[75] He underwent the surgery on October 1.[72] On November 12, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year.[76]

2019

 
Ohtani batting in 2019

On May 7, 2019, Ohtani played in his first game with the Angels since undergoing Tommy John surgery, batting as a designated hitter against the Detroit Tigers.[77] In a June 13 game against the Tampa Bay Rays, he became the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle in MLB history.[78] On September 12, his season prematurely ended after it was revealed that he needed surgery to repair a bipartite patella. He finished the season batting .286/.343/.505 with 18 home runs, 62 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases in 106 games.[79]

2020

The 2020 MLB season did not start until July 24 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[80] On July 24, Ohtani was the first ever automatic player on second base in an official MLB game at the start of the 10th inning as part of one of the new 2020 MLB season rules in a game against the Oakland Athletics. He was thrown out in a rundown.[81] On July 26, Ohtani returned to the mound against the Oakland Athletics, making his first pitching appearance since September 2018. He allowed five runs and was removed from the mound without recording an out, starting his season with a loss and an infinite ERA.[82] After his second start he began to experience discomfort in his right arm, and it was eventually revealed that he had a flexor strain in his right elbow after undergoing an MRI.[83] He was shut down from pitching for the rest of the season.[84]

On the offensive side, Ohtani finished the season batting .190/.291/.366 with seven home runs, 24 RBIs, and seven stolen bases in 43 games.[85] The culmination of experiencing injuries in his 2019 and 2020 campaigns led to Ohtani describing feeling "frustrated" and "useless". He went on to say that while his 2019 had been disappointing, his 2020 had been "more like pathetic" because he could not pitch or hit the way he wanted to. Ohtani said, "[Until 2019], I could more or less do the things I wanted to do. I'd pretty much never experienced the feeling of wanting to do something but being completely unable to do it."[86]

2021: First AL MVP

After the results of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Ohtani spent the offseason overhauling himself.[86][87] He adjusted his diet,[86][87] threw bullpen sessions earlier than usual and took batting practice against live pitching, an offseason first for him.[86][87] He also embraced data and technology to optimize his training and recovery and also tinkered with a changeup.[86] Furthermore, in spring training, the Angels and Ohtani agreed to allow him to play without limitations or restrictions and drop the "Ohtani Rules",[88] a plan the Angels mirrored from Ohtani's schedule in Japan and had implemented since his 2018 rookie season that restricted his usage to a schedule of pitching once a week and hitting only three to four times between starts.[87]

On February 8, Ohtani agreed to a two-year $8.5 million contract with the Angels, avoiding arbitration.[89] On June 23, He hit for himself as a pitcher and the second batter in the lineup with designated hitter rules in place, making it the first time in MLB history that an American League team chose not to use a DH while a National League team utilized one.[90] On July 7, he hit his 32nd home run of the year, a solo shot off of Boston Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez, passing Hideki Matsui's mark in 2004, for the most home runs hit during a season by a Japanese-born player in MLB.[91] Ohtani became the first player to be selected as an All-Star as both a position player and a pitcher.[92] Ohtani participated in the 2021 Home Run Derby on July 12. He lost to Juan Soto in the first round, but set a record for the most home runs in the Derby of at least 500 feet with six.[93] In the All-Star game, he was the starting pitcher and leadoff designated hitter for the American League.[94]

Ohtani in September 2021 against the Texas Rangers

On July 26, in his 15th pitching start of the season against the Colorado Rockies, Ohtani became the first pitcher in league history to register 100 strikeouts while holding a major-league-leading 35 home runs before the end of July, as no pitcher had ever recorded triple-digit strikeouts and added more than nine home runs in the same season.[95] Additionally, in the same game, Ohtani became the first pitcher to throw a scoreless top half and record a hit, a RBI, a stolen base and a scored run while playing in an AL ballpark since Luis Tiant did so for the Minnesota Twins on April 26, 1970.[96]

Ohtani would finish the month of July as the first player in Major League history to ever have at least 37 home runs and 15 stolen bases before the end of July.[97] And for the second straight month, Ohtani also earned his second American League Player of the Month Award, becoming the first back-to-back Player of the Month Award winner in either league since Chase Headley in August and September 2012, and the first in the AL since Josh Hamilton in 2012. For July, he produced nine home runs, 19 RBIs, 16 walks, and a .282/.396/.671 slash line in 23 games at the plate, and a 1.35 ERA with 17 strikeouts and one walk in 20 innings.[98]

On August 18, Ohtani hit his 40th of the year, becoming the first left-handed batter in Angels history to reach 40 home runs, surpassing lefty Reggie Jackson's 1982 record of 39.[99] He capped off the month of August by stealing his 20th base in a game on August 28 against the San Diego Padres, becoming the first Japanese-born player[100] and the first player in Angels history to hit 40 home runs and have 20 stolen bases in the same season. He joined Alex Rodriguez in 2007 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999 as the 3rd AL player to accomplish this feat before September. He also became the first AL player to reach both of those totals in a season since Curtis Granderson in 2011.[101]

From September 22 to 25, Ohtani drew 13 walks in a 4-game span, tying an AL/NL record set by Babe Ruth in 1930, Bryce Harper in 2016, and Yasmani Grandal in 2021. He drew a career-high four walks on September 22 and three walks on September 23, against the Houston Astros, followed by four more walks on September 24 and two walks on September 25 against the Seattle Mariners.[102] His 11 walks drawn in the three-game span also tied the MLB record set by Harper in 2016.[103]

On September 26, Ohtani reached the 150-strikeout milestone against the Seattle Mariners and finished the year unbeaten at home, going 6–0 with a 1.95 ERA in 13 starts. Ohtani's home ERA was the lowest by an Angels starter since Jered Weaver in 2011. He also became the sixth starter in AL or NL history to make at least 13 home starts without a losing decision and an ERA below 2.00 in a season.[104] In the last game of the season against the Seattle Mariners, he passed teammate Mike Trout's 45 home runs in a single season to finish with the second-most home runs in a season in Angels history at 46, trailing only Troy Glaus' 47 home runs in 2000.[105]

For the year, Ohtani finished his pitching campaign by making 23 starts on the mound, going 9–2 with a 3.18 ERA, 156 strikeouts, 1.09 WHIP, and 44 walks in 130 1/3 innings.[105] On the hitting side, Ohtani finished with an American League-leading 20 intentional walks, which was the most by an AL player since Trout in 2018. Ohtani, who batted .257/.372/.592, including 46 home runs — runner-up for the MLB lead in homers, 100 RBI, 103 runs, and 26 steals in 155 games and 639 plate appearances, hit several milestones to close his season, reaching both 100 RBIs and 100 runs for the first time in his career. He also tied for the MLB lead with eight triples to go along with 26 stolen bases. Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to have at least 45 homers, 25 stolen bases, 100 RBIs, 100 runs, and eight triples in a season and the second player in AL history to record at least 45 homers and 25 stolen bases in a season, joining Jose Canseco in 1998.[105] He led the league with a wins above replacement (WAR) value of 9.1 and finished third in home runs (46), fourth in slugging percentage (.592), fifth in OPS (.965), first in triples (eight), fifth in drawing walks (96), eight in stolen bases (26), second in extra-base hits (80), second in intentional walks (20), fifth in OPS+ (158), and first in power-speed number (33.2).[106]

Ohtani was unanimously voted the American League Most Valuable Player, becoming the 23rd pitcher and first designated hitter to win the award.[107] For the 2021 All-MLB Team, Ohtani is the only player to be named to both teams, first team and second team, in the same season (as a designated hitter and starting pitcher respectively).[108] He became the first pitcher, the first Japanese player and the first Angels player to win the Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.[109] Ohtani was also awarded the Silver Slugger Award for being the best offensive player at the designated hitter position in the American League,[110] and was named to Time 100's list of most influential people of 2021,[111] which culminated to many end-of-the-season-accolades. He was named Associated Press AP Athlete of the Year,[112] Sporting News Athlete of the Year,[113] Baseball Digest Player of the Year[114] and Baseball America Major League Player of the Year.[115] From his MLB peers he was given Sporting News Player of the Year Award,[116] Players Choice Player of the Year Award, and Players Choice American League Outstanding Player Award.[117] He was also named as both the team's Los Angeles Angels Player of the Year of 2021 and the team's Nick Adenhart Pitcher of the Year Award, as voted by his teammates.[118]

Additionally, Ohtani's 2021 season was recognized for two Guinness World Records titles: (1) the first MLB player to achieve 100+ innings and record 100+ strikeouts as a pitcher, and 100+ RBIs, hits and runs as a batter in a single season and (2) the first player to start the MLB All-Star Game as a pitcher and a designated hitter.[119] He also became the 16th recipient of the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, awarded by Commissioner Rob Manfred,[8] who formally recognized Ohtani's 2021 season as "historically significant" and "unprecedented", calling it "so special that it was important to recognize the historic achievement that took place in 2021 with an award just about 2021."[8] Ohtani was offered Japan's national honor, the People's Honour Award, by the Prime Minister of Japan in recognition of his accomplishments, but Ohtani rejected it, saying it was "still too early" for such an award.[120] On December 22, The Sporting News released the article "The 50 greatest seasons in sports history, ranked". In it, Ohtani's 2021 season was ranked No.1, topping great seasons by athletes such as Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, and Lionel Messi.[121]

2022

 
Ohtani batting in 2022

On March 22, 2022, Major League Baseball introduced a new rule that allows for a pitcher in the batting order to remain in the game as a designated hitter after they are pulled from the pitching mound, colloquially dubbed the "Ohtani rule".[122] The Angels named him as the Opening Day starting pitcher[123] and he pitched 4+23 innings against the Houston Astros, allowing one earned run and one walk while striking out nine.[124] He became the first player in MLB history to start Opening Day as both the starting pitcher and the leadoff hitter.[125]

 
Shohei Ohtani in July 2022

Ohtani recorded two home runs, including a grand slam, on May 9, against the Tampa Bay Rays, marking the second time of the season and the eighth time in his career for Ohtani to record a multi-homer game, surpassing Ichiro Suzuki for the most by a Japanese-born player in MLB history,[126] The grand slam was the first of his professional career, including both NPB and MLB.[127] On May 14, he hit his 100th career MLB home run, making him the third Japanese-born player with at least 100 homers in the majors, trailing only Hideki Matsui with 175 and Suzuki with 117. Ohtani also joined Babe Ruth as the only players with at least 100 home runs and at least 250 strikeouts as a pitcher.[128]

On June 9, Ohtani hit a go-ahead two-run home run and pitched seven innings, including throwing a 101 mph fastball to strike out Rafael Devers to end the third – the hardest strikeout pitch of his career, in a win over the Boston Red Sox to end the Angels' 14-game losing streak, the longest in franchise history.[129] The victory resulted in a six-game pitching span from June 9 to July 13, where Ohtani went 6–0 with a 0.45 ERA (39.2 IP & 2 ER) and 58 strikeouts, (while also hitting eight HR with a .997 OPS), while becoming the fourth pitcher all-time to go 6–0 with 58+ SO and 2-or-fewer ER in a six-game span, joining Cy Young winners Johan Santana (2004), R.A. Dickey (2012) and Clayton Kershaw (2014).[130]

In a two-game span from June 21–22, 2022, Ohtani made MLB history by becoming the first player in the American League or National League to have at least eight RBIs in a game and strike out at least 10 batters the next day.[131] On June 21, Ohtani hit a pair of three-run homers and set a career-high with eight RBIs, becoming the first player born in Japan to have eight RBI in a game and just the eighth player in Angels history to have eight RBIs in a game. Ohtani's eight RBIs were the most by an Angels player since Garret Anderson had a franchise-record 10 RBIs against the New York Yankees on August 21, 2007. It was also the most RBIs in a game by a Japanese-born player, surpassing seven-RBI games from Matsui in 2009 and Tadahito Iguchi in 2006.[132]

On July 6, 2022, against the Miami Marlins, Ohtani made MLB history again by becoming the first player since RBI became an official statistic in 1920 to record 10 strikeouts as a pitcher, two RBIs as a batter, and a stolen base all in a single game.[133] His 111 strikeouts over 81 innings pitched in the game made him the first Angels pitcher to record 110 K's in the first half in fewer than 100 innings and the first Angels pitcher to 110 K's in the first half since Garrett Richards in 2014. He also became the fourth Angels player with multiple seasons of 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases before the All-Star break and the eighth Major Leaguer since earned runs were official in 1913 to record 40-plus strikeouts and zero earned runs in a four-start span.[133]

For a second straight year, Ohtani was voted into All-Star Game by fans as the starter at the designated hitter position[134] and he was selected as a starting pitcher again.[135] Ohtani announced; however, that he would only participate as a hitter in the All-Star Game, even though he was considered as a candidate to start for the AL team. He declined to pitch, citing a scheduling conflict and his preference to "prioritize the season over the All-Star Game."[136]

In a game against the Oakland Athletics where he pitched and hit, Ohtani completed three historical feats on August 9, 2022. Ohtani joined Babe Ruth in an exclusive 10-homer, 10-win club; moved up on the all-time home run list for Japanese-born players; and set a single-season career high in strikeouts. Ohtani tossed six scoreless innings to earn his 10th win of the season for the first time in his Major League career. He and Ruth are the only two players in AL and NL history to win at least 10 games on the mound and hit at least 10 home runs in the same season. Ed Rile and Bullet Rogan also accomplished this feat in the Negro leagues as well. Ohtani's 25th home run of the season was his 118th career home run, which surpassed Ichiro Suzuki's 117 career home runs to become second place on the all-time Major League home run list for Japanese-born players. Ohtani's five strikeouts in the game brought him to 157 on the season, a new single-season high eclipsing his 2021 total of 156. Combined with his playing days in Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani reached 1,000 strikeouts between NPB (624) and MLB (379).[137]

The Angels avoided arbitration with Ohtani on October 1, signing him to a one-year deal worth $30 million for the 2023 season. At $30 million, the deal set a new record for a player in his third year of arbitration, surpassing the $27 million Mookie Betts received before the 2020 season, and also gave Ohtani the biggest salary raise of any arbitration-eligible player until (Juan Soto broke it with $30.1 million); a $24.5 million raise from his 2022 salary of $5.5 million and $3 million of 2021.[138]

Ohtani finished his 2022 season with a 15–9 record, a 2.33 ERA, and 219 strikeouts in 166 innings. He also hit .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 30 doubles, 11 stolen bases, and 95 RBIs in 157 games. Among AL pitchers, Ohtani finished the year first in SO/9 innings rate (11.87), third in strikeouts (219), fourth in ERA (2.33) and tied for fourth in wins (15), while amongst AL hitters, Ohtani ranked fourth in homers (34), fifth in OPS (.875), fifth in total bases (304), third in intentional walks (14), tied for third in extra-base hits (70), fifth in slugging (.519), tied for fourth in triples (6), seventh in RBIs (95), seventh in walks (72), and tied for eighth in runs (90).[9] Ohtani also led the majors with a home-to-first average time of 4.09 seconds and was the only player in the majors to tally at least six triples and 34 home runs in 2022 (making him the only player to do so in a second consecutive year).[130] He hit a ball with the highest exit velocity in major league baseball for the season, at 119.1 mph.[139] He also had the fastest speed running from home plate to first base, at 4.09 seconds.[140] He was once again named as both the team's Los Angeles Angels Player and Pitcher of the Year,[138] won a second straight Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award,[141] and was runner-up for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.[142]

2023: Second AL MVP

 
Shohei Ohtani in 2023

Fresh off being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Ohtani made his second straight Opening Day start for the Angels' while batting third in the lineup against the Athletics on March 30.[143] On May 10, he struck out Jeremy Peña of the Astros for his 502nd career pitching strikeout, passing Babe Ruth on the all-time strikeout list. With the feat, he also set the record for most pitching strikeouts by a player with 100 home runs.[144]

Ohtani was named AL Player of the Week for the fifth time in his career after hitting six home runs, going .435 (10-for-23), 12 RBIs, 10 walks and a 1.893 OPS over seven games from June 12 to 18, 2023, at the plate and picking up a win as starting pitcher on June 15, 2023, against the Texas Rangers. At the time, he was leading MLB in homers (24), RBIs (58), and total bases (175) while slashing .300/.384/.632 .[145] The honor would also tie him with Suzuki for the most by a Japanese-born player.[146]

Ohtani would finish the month of June by winning his sixth career Player of the Week Award|AL Player of the Week award, surpassing Suzuki for the most by a Japanese-born player, after hitting six home runs with a 1.783 OPS over a seven-day span from June 26 to July 2, 2023, including a career-long 493-foot home run, the longest homer in the 2023 MLB season;[147] as well as winning his third career American League Player of the Month for June.[148] His performance in June was considered to be the best June in MLB history, as over 126 plate appearances, he batted .394 and led the major leagues in on-base percentage (.492), slugging percentage (.952), OPS (1.444), home runs (15), RBIs (29), extra-base hits (25) and total bases (99). He also threw 30⅓ sterling innings, with a 3.26 ERA, 37 strikeouts, and an opponent slash line of .228/.302/.368 as a starting pitcher.[149][150]

Ohtani earned an automatic spot on the 2023 All-Star roster after being the leading vote-getter in the American League All-Star ballot during Phase 1 of fan voting, received 2,646,307 votes as the starter in the DH position.[151] He was also elected as an All-Star pitcher for the American League, making it the third straight year Ohtani was named an All-Star as both a pitcher and a DH.[152] He would enter the All-Star Game with 30+ homers for the second time in his career, having hit 33 previously in 2021. Like 2022, Ohtani opted to participate only as a hitter in the All-Star Game and not pitch due to a blister.[153]

On July 27, Ohtani pitched a complete-game shutout during game one of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, recording his first complete game (and shutout) of his MLB career. He struck out eight batters and walked three, allowing just one single. He later went on to hit two home runs during game two.[154] For July, Ohtani earned his seventh career AL Player of the Week award[155] and fourth career American League Player of the Month.[156]

Ohtani recorded his second career grand slam and his 43rd home run in a loss against the Rays on August 19.[157] On August 23, he hit his 44th home run of the 2023 season but was removed from his start against the Cincinnati Reds after 1⅓ inning after experiencing what was initially reported as arm fatigue. It was later revealed that Ohtani would not pitch for the rest of the 2023 season and the 2024 season after suffering a ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right elbow. He finished his 2023 season on the mound with a 10–5 record, posting a 3.14 ERA and striking out 167 batters.[158] On September 16, he was ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering an oblique strain. He received elbow surgery performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on September 19, 2023, to address the UCL tear in his right elbow.[159]

In 135 games as a hitter, he batted .304/.412/.654 with 44 home runs, 95 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.[160] Ohtani ended the 2023 regular season as the first Japanese-born player to lead a U.S. major league in home runs, capturing the American League title with 44 home runs.[11] Ohtani led the league with a wins above replacement (WAR) value of 10.1, slugging percentage (.654), OPS (1.066), adjusted OPS+ (184), offensive win percentage (.810), and finished second in on-base percentage (.416), fourth in home runs (44), ninth in batting average (.304), fifth in triples (eight), second in intentional walks (21), second in adjusted batting wins (5.8), second in adjusted batting runs (60), fifth in extra-base hits (78), fifth in runs created (138), and tenth in walks (91).[106]

For the second time in his career, Ohtani was unanimously voted the American League Most Valuable Player, becoming the first player in MLB history to win MVP by unanimous vote twice.[12] He was also named to the 2023 All-MLB Team, becoming the first player to ever be named to both first teams in the same season (as a designated hitter and starting pitcher respectively).[161] He won his third straight Edgar Martínez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award,[162] his second Silver Slugger Award for being the best offensive player at the designated hitter position in the American League,[163] and his first career AL Hank Aaron Award.[164] For the third straight year, the Angels announced that Ohtani was once again the team's Los Angeles Angels Player of the Year of 2023, as voted by his teammates.[165] Ohtani won his second Associated Press AP Athlete of the Year, joining a group of 11 male athletes to have received the honor multiple times,[166] and his second Baseball America Major League Player of the Year honor.[167] From his MLB peers, he was awarded his second Players Choice American League Outstanding Player Award.[168] Ohtani's contract expired after the 2023 season and he became a free agent for the first time in his career.[169]

Los Angeles Dodgers

On December 11, 2023, Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the largest contract in professional sports history.[14] His wages were structured so that $68 million per season was deferred until after the deal's conclusion, to be paid out from 2034 to 2043.[170]

2024

Ohtani debuted with the Dodgers as the designated hitter on March 20 against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, as part of the MLB Seoul Series.[171] He hit his first home run as a Dodger on April 3 against the San Francisco Giants, exactly six years to the date of his first Major League home run.[172][173] On April 12, Ohtani hit the 175th home run of his career, tying Hideki Matsui for the most ever by a Japanese born player in MLB history.[174]

International career

2012 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup

Ohtani was selected to Japan's Under-18 National Team that eventually finished in sixth place at the 2012 18U Baseball World Championship 18U Baseball World Championship in Seoul.[175]

2015 WBSC Premier12

In the inaugural WBSC Premier12 tournament, Ohtani earned a bronze medal with the Japanese national team. He was the ace of Japan's pitching staff, which also featured Kenta Maeda. As the number one starter, Ohtani made two pitching appearances for Samurai Japan, both against Japan's arch-rival South Korea, winning Game 1 of the opening round and getting a no-decision in the semifinals. Ohtani was subsequently named to the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation All-World Team and was named the 2015 WBSC Baseball Player of the Year.[176]

2017 World Baseball Classic

Ohtani was on the 28-man roster for the Japan National Baseball Team of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury.[177]

2023 World Baseball Classic

Ohtani played for the Japan National Baseball Team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.[178] He was named the Pool B MVP for his hitting and pitching performances in the group stage of the tournament.[179] He earned the save in the championship game after pitching the final inning of Japan's win over the US in the final, striking out his Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout with a 3-2 slider to seal Japan's WBC championship, and won the tournament's MVP award after batting .435/.606/.739 as a hitter and posting a 1.86 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 9 2⁄3 innings as a pitcher.[180]

After helping Team Japan clinch its third WBC title, Ohtani became the only player to be named to the All-WBC team at two separate positions, having been named to the 2023 team as both a designated hitter and a pitcher.[181]

Awards and achievements

Awards and exhibition team selections

MLB

Statistical achievements

American League statistical leader
Category Times Seasons
Home runs leader 1 2023
On-base percentage leader 1 2023
Slugging percentage leader 1 2023
On-base plus slugging leader 1 2023
Total bases leader 1 2023
Intentional base on balls leader 1 2021
Triples leader 1 2021
At bats per home run leader 1 2021
Power–speed number leader 1 2021
Wins above replacement leader 2 2021, 2023
Win probability added leader 1 2021
Strikeouts per nine innings pitched leader 1 2022
Notes:
Per Baseball-Reference.com. Through the 2023 season.

Player profile

Pitching

Ohtani is a 6-foot-4-inch (1.93 m), 210-pound (95 kg) right-handed starting pitcher.[183] With an overhand delivery,[184] he throws a four-seam fastball averaging 97 miles per hour (156 km/h)[183] topping out at 102.5 mph (165 km/h),[185] an 86–93-mile-per-hour (138–150 km/h) forkball/split-finger fastball[186][187] with late diving action,[188] an occasional curveball, and a solid slider at 85–91 miles per hour (137–146 km/h).[189] He posted a walks per nine innings rate of 3.3 across his NPB career.[190] Ohtani has been compared to Justin Verlander by some MLB scouts[191] with his ability and affinity to throwing harder in high-leverage spots and later in games.[192] Whereas most pitchers throw only a little harder in big spots than they do in normal ones and most pitchers lose speed as the game goes on, Ohtani, like Verlander, is able to reserve power and staying power in order to conserve energy without throwing max effort on every offering.[192]

Batting and fielding

Ohtani is a left-handed batter. He is a designated hitter and often considered a power hitter capable of leading the league in home runs.[106] Ohtani also demonstrates elite baserunner skills, with a sprint speed and feet-first sliding technique allowing him to have been a league leader in stolen bases, bunt hits and infield-hit rate.[192] Scouts have timed Ohtani running from the batter's box to first base in as little as 3.8 seconds.[193] For the 2021 season, his 28.8 feet per second (19.6 mph) sprint speed ranked in the 92nd percentile of all players, as did his 3.51 second 80-foot split[194] and he also recorded the fastest home to first average sprint time in the Majors at 4.09 seconds,[192][195][196] while recording a career-high 26 stolen bases.[105]

Off the field

Personal life

 
Shinzo Abe awarding Shohei Ohtani the Prime Minister Trophy at the 2018 Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Award Ceremony

Ohtani has been nicknamed "Shotime".[2]

Since gaining national and international attention as a high school phenom, Ohtani is one of Japan's most celebrated athletes[18] and has faced intense media scrutiny with the Japanese press his whole adult life.[31] Due to the high-profile nature of his two-way efforts, the Fighters protected Ohtani from some of the media onslaught, while Ohtani tended to keep to the team dormitory and the gym, leading a semi-monastic, baseball-centric existence, a byproduct of holding down two jobs in the big leagues and doing both at an elite level.[31]

 
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel with Shohei Ohtani holding a Visa for Ohtani's dog, Dekopin.

Ohtani has a Kooikerhondje dog named Dekopin.[197] The dog is also known as Decoy, and has received an honorary visa from the Embassy of the United States, Tokyo.[198]

Ohtani is married to former professional basketball player Mamiko Tanaka.[199] Ohtani announced in February 2024 that he had married but declined to disclose his wife's identity except to say, "She's a normal Japanese woman".[200] The next month, he revealed her identity by posting a photograph of himself with Tanaka.[199]

Endorsements and mass media coverage

Ohtani has been represented by agent Nez Balelo of CAA Sports since 2017, shortly after announcing his plans to pursue an MLB career.[201] He was listed in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia class of 2018 in the field of Entertainment & Sports.[202] In 2021, Ohtani was named to Time 100's list of most influential people of 2021[111] and awarded the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award by Commissioner Rob Manfred.[8]

As of March 2023, Ohtani endorsement earnings were estimated to be an MLB league-leading $35–40 million for the 2023 year, up from his MLB league-leading $20 million endorsement earnings in 2022, which tripled from his MLB league-leading $6 million endorsement earnings in 2021.[203][204] Ohtani has proven to be a marketing hit on both sides of the Pacific, with a group of 13 partnerships that includes New Balance, Fanatics, Topps[205] and Panini[205] in the U.S. and Hugo Boss, Kosé, Porsche Japan, Kowa, Mitsubishi Bank, Japan Airlines, Salesforce, Nishikawa Co., and Seiko Watch in Japan.[206]

In 2022, Ohtani became a brand ambassador for Kowa, Mitsubishi Bank, Japan Airlines, Salesforce,[206]Porsche Japan as part of their 'Porsche Driving Athlete' family and Fanatics.[207][208] In 2023, Ohtani added two new deals with New Balance[209] and Japanese cosmetics company Kosé.[210] Ohtani was the first Asian player to be a cover athlete of MLB The Show in 2022.[211][212]

Ohtani's previous partnerships included Asics, Descente, Oakley, New Era, FTX, Savas, and Aquarius.[213] On November 16, 2021, it was announced that Ohtani joined cryptocurrency exchange FTX as a global ambassador,[214] partnering on various animal charitable initiatives;[215] however, in November 2022, FTX filed for bankruptcy, wiping out billions of dollars in customer funds. Ohtani, alongside other spokespeople, was sued for promoting unregistered securities through a class-action lawsuit[216][217] with the athlete's lawyers filing for Ohtani's dismissal from the FTX lawsuit in April 2023.[218]

Interpreter gambling scandal

While not fluent, Ohtani speaks some English and knows Spanish, but prefers to speak to the media through an interpreter who translates from his native Japanese to English, and vice versa.[219] Ippei Mizuhara was Ohtani's personal interpreter with the Angels and Dodgers, having known Ohtani since he was 18, starting in 2013 during Ohtani's days with the Fighters.[220] Mizuhara's role went beyond solely translating to include confidant, conditioning coach, and throwing partner.[221][222]

In March 2024, an ESPN investigation uncovered $4.5 million in wire payments from Ohtani's bank account to a Southern California bookmaking operation under federal investigation. On the evening of March 19, Mizuhara told ESPN that the money was for repaying his gambling debts. He said he had asked Ohtani for the money and that Ohtani himself transferred the funds to the bookie. Mizuhara also told this story to the Dodgers clubhouse after a game that day. However, as ESPN prepared to air the interview on the morning of March 20, Ohtani's law firm issued a statement reading, "We discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities." That afternoon, the Dodgers fired Mizuhara, who had signed a contract with the team when Ohtani joined.[223] Will Ireton, who had served as an interpreter for Kenta Maeda, took over as Ohtani's interpreter.[224] At a March 25 press conference, Ohtani made his first public statement about the incident, telling reporters that he had never bet on sports or had any knowledge of the debt until the team meeting on March 19.[225]

On April 11, the US Attorney charged Mizuhara with one count of bank fraud after an investigation determined that he had impersonated Ohtani with his bank, had illegally changed settings on the bank account and had stolen over $16 million from that account.[226]

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

Achievements
Preceded by Hitting for the cycle
June 13, 2019
Succeeded by
Awards
Preceded by American League Player of the Month
June & July 2021
Succeeded by
Preceded by American League Player of the Month
June & July 2023
Succeeded by