For decades, MLB pitchers were rarely good hitters.
Even the best hitting pitchers were normally a bit worse than the league-average batter.
Baseball players are just not taught to be good at both hitting and pitching.
They are vastly different activities, and the people who actually try to excel professionally at both can be counted with one hand.
Only one player in MLB can brag about instilling fear in opposing pitchers.
That player is none other than Shohei Ohtani.
34 home runs!
And he hit 46 in 2021.
His 3.18 and 2.33 ERA finishes in the last two campaigns, together with his overall offensive talent, make him the most uniquely talented star in MLB.
Pitchers don’t want to face him.
“The only starting pitcher in the last 64 MLB seasons to be walked intentionally when he came up to bat is Shohei Ohtani,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
The only starting pitcher in the last 64 MLB seasons to be walked intentionally when he came up to bat is Shohei Ohtani. pic.twitter.com/j23ZpfflnO
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) January 13, 2023
Batters, of course, fear him, too: he can pump his fastball up to 101 mph and has two filthy secondaries in his splitter and slider.
In fact, Ohtani pitched 166 innings last season, and struck out an incredible 219 hitters.
He earned a whopping 5.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a pitcher and 3.8 as a batter, without playing defense.
Ohtani will earn $30 million in 2023 and then he will become the richest player in MLB history when he hits free agency after the World Series ends.
Contenders will actually line up for him, and the contract could very well reach $600 million.