Japan’s Babe Ruth Is Coming Stateside

Netherlands v Japan - International Friendly

World, meet Shohei Ohtani.

Known as Japan’s Babe Ruth, he’s the talk of the international town. At 23 years old, Ohtani has his sights set on playing for a Major League Baseball team in 2018. And as of Tuesday, that will become a reality. MLB and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association agreed on a new posting system that will allow Ohtani to leave Japan and sign with a MLB team.

Ohtani has played in the Nippon Professional Baseball Pacific League since 2013. He was the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Hokkaido Nippon Fighters. As a two-way player (pitcher and hitter), Ohtani has drawn comparisons to Babe Ruth. This has made him an extremely hot commodity, as his unique skill set could help fill multiple needs for 1 lucky team this offseason.

Who?

Ohtani was born in the Iwate Prefecture in Northern Japan. Ohtani is listed at 6’4″, 213 pounds. He is a left-handed batter and a right-handed pitcher. Ohtani made his professional debut at the age of 18, appearing in right field for the Nippon Fighters. In his rookie season, Ohtani became the 1st Japanese player to start games as a pitcher, hitter, and fielder.

What?

Shohei Ohtani is being tabbed as the next Babe Ruth. Allow that to sink in….

Babe Ruth is the best baseball player that ever lived. And it’s not even close. His impact on a baseball game as one of the most dominant hitters ever, and as a talented pitcher is unparalleled. Check out Babe Ruth’s stats here.

While Ohtani has been displaying talents on both sides of the ball since his rookie season, MLB teams would be hoping Ohtani can duplicate his 2016 season:

.322 batting avg., 22 home runs, 67 r.b.i.s, and 7 s.b.’s

10-4, 1.86 e.r.a., and 174 strikeouts (140 innings pitched) – Including a pitch clocked at 102.5 m.p.h.

Check out his career stats here.

Where?

Now that Ohtani can pursue his MLB career, the question is, where will he end up??

Due to his age (23), MLB teams are limited to signing him to a minor league contract. However, teams are allowed to offer whatever funds they have in their international bonus pool. As of right now, 6 teams have at least 1 million dollars in their bonus pool:

  • Texas Rangers ($3.535 Million)
  • New York Yankees ($3.5 Million)
  • Minnesota Twins ($3.245 Million)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates ($2.27 Million)
  • Miami Marlins ($1.74 Million)
  • Seattle Mariners ($1.57 Million)

Yes, as a Yankees’ fan, I’d love for Ohtani to don pinstripes. Then, he could truly follow in Babe Ruth’s footsteps. However, I’m surprised Ohtani is testing the MLB waters now. See, if Ohtani waits until he turns 25, he’d be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. That means he’d be able to sign as big of a contract as possible. (Maybe it has something to do with the right ankle surgery he had last month).

While it may not be the brightest financial decision in the world, you have to respect Ohtani’s confidence. He has continually expressed his desire to play in MLB regardless of the financial ramifications.

Talk about betting on yourself!! 

Unfortunately, the Nippon Fighters will lose their star player. But don’t cry too many tears, as they’ll receive a $20 million payment for posting Ohtani.

No matter where he ends up, Shohei Ohtani’s future looks bright.

Stay tuned to see how the top story of the MLB offseason develops.

 

What MLB team will Shohei Ohtani play for?? Post your prediction in the comment section below.

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