Even if you haven’t been a baseball fan for longer than two months, you know who Shohei Ohtani is. If you don’t, look up his highlights literally anywhere on the internet. This guy is the best prospect anyone in the baseball world has EVER seen.
You can say his stats are only good because he plays in Japan, but his game translates just fine to the big leagues. If Ohtani can produce 75% of the stats he did in Japan in the league, he will be a .270-.280 hitter with 15 home runs. Those stats are above average in the batter’s box. You may be asking your self, “why would teams be clamoring over a .280 and 15 hr guy”?
The reason teams are clamoring over this guy is the fact that he is an even better pitcher. Ohtani throws a combination of pitches; sinker, slider, fastball and what looks like a curveball when it leaves his hand. He throws in the mid to upper 90s. You may be thinking to your self, “oh this guys is just a glorified Madison Bumgarner.” well, i am here to tell you, you are horribly mistaken. The closest person to play in the major leagues that I can think to compare him to is Hall of Famer Babe Ruth.
Okay. I could go on all day about his stats in Japan, But where will he end up in North America? Well the list of teams that want him is much longer than the teams that don’t (Orioles D backs Braves Rockies Royals Marlins Cardinals.) Most of the uninterested teams just don’t believe they truly have a shot at the mega star. The big news today (according to mlb.com) the Yankees were informed by Ohtani that he would not be signing with them this off season. So that leaves us with 22 teams, but realistically I think it’s probably going to come down to 4-5 teams that actually have a shot.
Houston Astros: being an obvious choice only because they are the reigning world champs and they are built to win for a long time.
Boston Red Sox: One of the MLB primary markets the Red Sox are the favorites to land just about any one that ever hits the market.
Texas Rangers: They have the most money to give…. that’s about it.
LA Dodgers: Just like the Astros, the Dodgers are built to be perennial title contenders for the next few years. Plus everyone in the world knows about LA.
Tampa Bay Rays: Tampa may be the odd man out in this group as they don’t really seem to be setup for long term success, but the Rays seem to be the most vocal about letting him play both ways as a pitcher and as a hitter. Where I think he will shine the brightest.
22 teams are all in for the next Babe Ruth. December 5th he is expected to be posted. The teams that really want in have to pay a 20 million dollar posting fee.
Who has the strongest pitch? Does he chase the money? Or does he go after a championship? If he was chasing the money, he would wait until next year when he can get almost double the highest signing bonus than this year. My favorites come down to the Astros, Red Sox and Dodgers. Should be a fun rest of the off season for baseball fans as we wait to see where this mega star ends up!
Picture Sources: Baseball hall of fame/the Seattle Times
Stat Sources: baseball reference/MLB