Shohei Ohtani is having the single greatest season ever
Let’s start with his pitching.
Suffice it to say, but if Ohtani wasn’t working in a six-man rotation, he would undoubtedly be in the running for best pitcher in the AL.
Though he won’t have enough innings to win it, Shohei Ohtani is putting up Cy Young numbers for the LA Angels.
Following his 16th and most recent start on August 4, Ohtani is currently rocking an outstanding 2.93 ERA and 158 ERA+. Of all AL pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched, these are the sixth-best and second-best marks in the AL, respectively.
Ohtani’s also racked up 106 strikeouts in just 86 innings pitched, good for the eighth-best strikeout rate in the AL at 11.1 K/9. The direct results of these high strikeout numbers are a 1.093 WHIP (ninth-best) and a 3.26 FIP (eighth-best).
From a hitter’s perspective, opposing batters are slashing an abysmal .190/.287/.315 against Ohtani this season, all while striking out in just under 1/3 of their total at-bats.
Enabling all of this success is one of the best pitching arsenals of any pitcher in recent memory, headlined by two of the best breaking pitches in the league.
Starting with his slider, this pitch is a nightmare for any hitter.
With 17 inches of horizontal movement, Ohtani’s slider is sliding 9.3 more inches than the league average. As a result, opposing batters are left flailing at the pitch, whiffing 34.3% of the time and hitting just .188 against it.
Even more impressive, though, is Ohtani’s splitter. Quite possibly the best splitter in all of baseball, this pitch drops an unbelievable 33.7 inches on average. Watching it live, the ball looks as though it is literally avoiding players’ bats.
The results are videogame-esque as Ohtani’s splitter generates the lowest batting average (.084) and slugging percentage (.108) out of anybody’s in the league, while also creating the highest whiff rate (53.8%) and strikeout rate (59.6%).
All in all, Ohtani is currently sporting 2.2 fWAR as a pitcher, tied for the 17th-best in the AL.
While this may not seem too impressive, remember, all of the guys ahead of him on this list are full-time pitchers with upwards of five more starts and almost 50 more innings pitched.
If you extrapolate Ohtani’s 2.2 fWAR to match the same number of innings as Gerrit Cole, the current leader with 3.8 fWAR in 140.1 innings pitched, the result is 3.58 fWAR.
This would put Ohtani at fourth in the league and within spitting distance of potentially claiming the number one spot by season’s end.