Mike Trout vs. Shohei Ohtani: Speed Kills

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani /

With his double on Friday night, Shohei Ohtani completed the career hits cycle. Nothing to really brag about but it does allow us to get to take a deeper look into how complete of a player he is.

Shohei Ohtani started the season off hot as both a hitter and pitcher and it has been really fun to watch. Though, I am still cautiously optimistic, Ohtani seems to have the tools to be a generational player. But the Angels already have a generational player in Mike Trout. Actually, the Angels have three generational players in Albert Pujols as well. Ohtani and Trout are much closer in their age 23 and 26 respectively, and Pujols is nearing the end of his career at age 38.

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The term ‘generational player’ usually means how well they can hit. Although Pujols isn’t much of a hitter to brag about anymore, he is in the conversation for best right-handed hitter of all-time. The biggest area that he has lacked throughout his career has been his speed. It has never been good but it is flat out bad now and at times a liability.

What sets Trout apart from Pujols is his top tier speed. We’ve also been told that Ohtani has similar wheels himself as well. We’ve never seen him run, though.  At least not until Thursday night when he hit a triple in Kansas City. We finally got to see what kind of speed Ohtani brought to the plate. Remember, during Spring Training he only hit singles and when he isn’t being a designated hitter, he is pitching. Pitchers don’t sprint, though they will try to tell you differently.

His speed did not disappoint.

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I reached out to MLB.com writer David Adler (he is on twitter@_dadler and you should be following him) who does Statcast work, which is a whole new way for technology to track baseball. I wanted to ask him some about Ohtani’s sprint speed around the bases. This guy is very good at what he does and he already had information tweeted out before I could ask. On his triple, which, remember, this is really the first time we’ve been able to see the 6’4 hitter/pitcher get into a full stride, his sprint speed was 28.3 feet per second. This got me to thinking about Trout. We already know how fast Trout is because we’ve been able to watch him in Anaheim for the past 6 seasons. We know he is fast but how does Ohtani stack up against him?

Trout’s fastest sprint speed on a triple was on August 6th, 2016. It was clocked at 28.8 feet per second. So he was faster than Ohtani but only by .5 of a second. The MLB average is 27 feet per second, so these guys are flying around the base paths.

I asked about Pujols’ sprint speed on double in the same game just for fun, too. He was clocked at 23.8 feet per second. Ohtani ran from home to third in 7.93 seconds, where it took Pujols 9.32 seconds to get to second.

Next: Nick Tropeano is back where Angels Need him

Average, power, speed… both of these players are elite at what they do. And somehow, both players play for the Angels as the same time and hopefully a long time.