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San Francisco Giants: A hypothetical response to Ohtani’s questionnaire

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani #16 of Japan celebrates after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning during the international friendly match between Japan and Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome on November 12, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12: Shohei Ohtani #16 of Japan celebrates after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning during the international friendly match between Japan and Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome on November 12, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
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San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants

Evaluate Ohtani’s talent as a hitter and pitcher

Shohei Ohtani is an incredibly unique talent, and frankly, the comparisons to Babe Ruth could be beneath him in a way. I’m not a fan of making player comparisons, especially to all-time greats. That’s never good, and usually ends up disappointing. It’s also a disservice to Ohtani. Instead of calling him “the next Babe Ruth” constantly, he should be simply Shohei Ohtani. So here is who he is.

Ohtani’s over the top, high arm slot, and consistent arm speed and pitching motion helps hide his pitches. Too many guys change arm slots drastically for breaking balls compared to fastballs. While that might be to help get a certain type of break or look, Ohtani’s consistency in delivery and pitching motion makes his pitches incredibly deceptive. His curve-ball doesn’t have a big “hump in it. It seems to just fall off the table. And his ability to blow his fastball past guys is what helps keeps hitters off-balance. He’s an incredible pitcher who has the ability to strike a ton of guys out thanks to his repeatable motion, and consistent arm slot.

As a hitter, Ohtani has a really well balanced swing. He keeps his lower body still as much as possible, times his leg kick well, and keeps his head down when making contact on the follow through. His swings helps generate a bit of backspin, giving him the extra distance that his wiry frame can’t. He can hit to all fields, and has a great inside-out approach, something the Giants really love in their hitters. Ohtani would be incredibly valuable to the Giants in either spot, as both a hitter and pitcher.

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