The 2018 season of Major League Baseball might see another Japanese player make his way to The Show in the United States.
He is Shohei Ohtani and he is known as the “Babe Ruth of Japan.”
New York Yankee’s General Manager Brian Cashman, however, says that Ohtani will not be playing for Ruth’s former team.
It was not as though the fabled New York franchise was uninterested; it simply seems that the coveted star has expressed a desire to play on one of the West Coast teams, perhaps in one of the smaller markets, which would seem to rule out the Los Angeles franchises of the Dodgers and the Angels.
The Boston Globe seems to back Cashman’s version of Ohtani’s intentions, saying that the Boston Red Sox were not in his future plans.
Ohtani’s preferences left many MLB franchises with no hope, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets.
At the rate things are going, MLB might have to expand to include a dedicated franchise to accommodate Ohtani. Two teams still in the running include the Seattle mariners and the San Francisco Giants, although calling those two small market franchises is something like saying that Tokyo is too small for Godzilla to bother with.
The young Ohtani, just 23, is called the Babe Ruth of Japan because he can chuck a fastball at over 100 mph (161 kph) and also wields an explosive bat.
Playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters this season past, Ohtani was restricted by an ankle injury, but in 2016, he won 10 and lost four with an amazing 1.86 ERA over 140 innings. As a batter, he hit for a .322 average and belted 22 home runs.
He has played over 400 games in four seasons with the Japan Pacific League club, he carried a .286 batting average with 48 home runs, 166 RBIs and a .859 OPS. His pitching stats were impressive as well. He won 42, lost 15 and had a 2.52 ERA.