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The Baseball Report: Shohei Ohtani Will Not Pitch Again in 2023

As a baseball fan, there have been a few statements this year that have made me feel some type of way. The first being that "Yadier Molina is retired now", and the second being "The Yankees aren't going to make the postseason". While the later truly irks me, I think it's a safe bet to say that this one hurts all baseball fans...

“Shohei Ohtani has a torn UCL and will not pitch for the rest of the season”.

Brutal news for both the upcoming AL MVP, and for the Angels organization, but what does this mean for Shohei?

Heading into a massive contract year, this news definitely will hurt his chances of being in the $500-$800 million range for his new contract this off-season. This was the offseason that Shohei was going break every single record in the sport, perhaps forever. We could never see another player like Shohei Ohtani. The last guy we have seen like this was Babe Ruth.

Speaking of Ruth, what occurred when he was traded to the Yankees for Boston owner’s Harry Frazee’ failed Broadway show? Ruth had to make a choice, are you a pitcher or a hitter full time? Prior to joining the Yankees, Ruth was an old school two way player. Meaning, back in that time, the rule was pitchers hit only when they were on the mound.

PC: The Diary of Myles Thomas, Babe Ruth in a crown

Ruth pitched from 1914-1919 amassing a stat line of 2.28 ERA/2.81 FIP/1.159 WHIP. After those illustrious years, Ruth pitched here and there for the Yankees. Once in 1920, twice in 1921 and then another two times at the back end of his career.

New York Times, Babe pitching

What was the perception of Ruth after the move to full time bat? Well, he’s regarded as the greatest player that has ever played the game.

Throughout Ohtani’s career, the pitching side was just never as dominant as the hitting side. Comparing the two, on the mound Shoehei has amassed a stat line of the following: 3.01/3.31/1.082. Very solid numbers on the mound, yet take a look at the offensive numbers: .274/.364/.557/147 OPS+ with 171 homers in 6 years.

Shohei has been nothing short of incredible since coming to the US, yet the man is more-so of a thrower rather than a pitcher. Sure, he has had many great appearances, and he boast an almost-sub three ERA for his career, yet he throws the ball hard. 39% of the time, his fastball is up to 97 and above this season. Ohtani’s K percentage for 2023 is currently within the 93rd percentile. That's a lot of baseball jargon, but ultimately it mean he strikes out a ton of batters. However, it also means he throws more pitches than the average pitcher to do so.

Regardless of what occurs, Ohtani is entering a season of change for him. He could stay back in LA, and build something with the Angels, or he could go and try for a contract north of $600 million and ten plus years. The question now is, who will pay him with questions of his health and positional situations moving forward. Only time will tell.


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