The talk from Major League Baseball on the opening weekend of the 2021 regular season was centered around the greatness of their hitting and pitching superstar, Shohei Ohtani of Oshu, Japan. On Sunday night in the Angels’ 7-4 win over the Chicago White Sox, Ohtani became the first ever American League starting pitcher since the designated hitter rule was instituted in 1973, to hit a home run in a game.
Ohtani’s one-out first-inning blast has been the talk of Major League Baseball. According to ESPN, the exit velocity of his blast was 115.2 miles per hour, the hardest home run hit so far this season. Ohtani also had a pitch of 100.6 miles per hour, which was the fastest pitch thrown by any Major League Baseball starting pitcher in 2021 to date.
Let’s be honest, Ohtani is looking for a bounce-back year when it comes to hitting and pitching. A year ago, he batted 10 points below the Mendoza line at .190, and only had seven home runs and 24 runs batted in during 153 at bats. On the mound, Ohtani had a disastrous two games pitching for the Angels, as he gave up seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched, before Angels manager Joe Maddon shut Ohtani down with a flexor strain in his right elbow.
Still, even though Ohtani showed flashes of brilliance on Sunday, he needs to show signs of improvement both as a hitter and as a pitcher. Despite his two home runs so far, Ohtani is still only batting .188 with three hits in 16 at bats. It should also be noted that even though Ohtani pitched 4 2/3 innings on Sunday, and only gave up a single earned run, he still had five walks, which currently leads the American League. He also had a wild pitch in the fifth inning, which allowed a White Sox run to score.
Meanwhile, Jared Walsh of Brookfield, WI, has got off to a fantastic start offensively for the Angels. He is so far batting .385 after four games, and on Sunday hit his first two home runs of the season.