Asia’s Best Bat Isn’t Ohtani? Maybe He Really Is

Shohei Ohtani (29, Los Angeles Angels) is the latest in a long line of top-notch Asian hitters. He is in a league of his own when it comes to Asian players breaking into the major leagues, as outfielders have not been as strong as pitchers.

Ohtani broke into the major leagues in 2018 when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. After undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair ligaments in his elbow, he was limited to 10 games in 2018, none in 2019, and only two in the shortened 2020 season. But aside from that, he’s been a consistent performer. Now, he’s accumulated quite a few.

From his debut in 2018 through this year, Ohtani has played in 624 major league games with a .268 batting average, 142 home runs, 382 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.886. His OPS was 39% higher than the league average over that span, and in 2021, when he won the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, he was in contention for the title outright, hitting 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 doubles, and an OPS of 0.965 in 155 games.

However, his last two years have not been as productive. Last year, he had 34 home runs, 95 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.875 in 157 games, but that’s not exactly an “S” player. This year, through his first 58 games, he’s batting .274 with 15 home runs, 40 RBIs, and an OPS of .888. That’s still good, but his batting average and slugging percentage leave something to be desired.

Still, it’s nothing to sneeze at when compared to Asian hitters. It’s hard to find an example of an Asian player with an OPS over 0.850. It’s hard to think of an Asian slugger with an OPS over 0.850, and it’s hard to think of an Asian slugger with an OPS over 0.850. Only time will tell, but Masataka Yoshida (Boston, 30), a one-year veteran of the national team, has a lot of momentum.

Yoshida, who signed a five-year, $90 million contract with Boston prior to the season, worth more than $100 million in posting money, has erased any pre-season concerns. He had a rough start to the season, but it was an adjustment period, and he’s made it a short one, becoming an indispensable hitter for the Red Sox.

Yoshida isn’t a home run machine like Ohtani, but his precision is better than Ohtani’s, and he has the ability to produce more than just doubles,먹튀검증 so his run production is never far behind. What he lacks in power, he makes up for in terms of his approach at the plate, with a lower swing rate and not being as easily fooled by pitches. This season’s numbers speak for themselves.

In 50 games this season, Yoshida is batting .314 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs, and an OPS of .899. His batting average and slugging percentage are much higher than Ohtani’s. Ohtani’s on-base percentage (.540) is likely to be much higher because he hits so many home runs, but Yoshida also has a respectable .505 slugging percentage. His 23 walks while striking out 22 times is a remarkable statistic.

In terms of adjusted wRC+, which measures a hitter’s pure run production, the two are also battling for the top spot in Asia. As of April 4 (KST), Ohtani’s wRC+ was 140, good for 23rd in the league, according to stats site FanGraphs. In the past, this has been enough for him to defend his title as Asia’s best, but this year is different because of Yoshida.

Yoshida’s wRC+ is 146, which is 15th in the league, higher than Ohtani’s. Although his overall Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is lower than his offense, due to his limited defense, Yoshida is not far behind Otani in terms of bat alone.

There is a catch. Ohtani is in his sixth year in the majors this year. He has a lot of experience playing full-time. His weaknesses have already been analyzed. There is definitely a manual for dealing with him. Yoshida, on the other hand, has yet to play full-time in the major leagues, and it’s likely that opponents will start to counterattack fiercely. If Yoshida can get over this hump, the offensive battle between the two players in the majors could get a lot more interesting.

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