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Shohei Otani - MLB Rookie of the Year!

This article will introduce Shohei Otani of the Los Angeles Angels, the 4th Japanese person to win the MLB Newcomer of the Year award. The video is an interview video titled "Shohei Otani I MOVE ME- Newcomer of the Year" (大谷翔平選手 I MOVE ME~新人賞受賞~).
This video was made by popular sportswear maker ASICS.

Shohei Ohtani is famous for his ability to be both a pitcher and a fielder at the same time.
This is something that Shohei Ohtani has been doing since his days as a member of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

However, Shohei Ohtani's style of play wasn't the only thing that caught the attention of big league scouts.
Already as a professional baseball player in Japan, he stood out as a pitcher, throwing the fastest pitch speed in Japan at 165 km/h and became the first NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) player to win both the Best Nine Award and Best DH Award

Shohei Ohtani won one of the top awards in 2018, the Rookie of the Year award, and it's a wonder he didn't win the Rookie of the Year award during his time in the NPB.

Profile of Rookie of the Year - Shohei Ohtani

Let's take a look at the profile of Shohei Ohtani, a player with a well-proportioned body and facial features popular among women.
・ Height: 193 cm
・ Weight: ~95.3kg
・ Date of birth: July 5, 1994 (25 years old)
・ Blood type: B
・ Throws right/Hits left
・ Schooling: Hanamaki Higashi High School, Iwate Prefecture

・ History since high school baseball:
Played as a cleanup hitter since his first year of high school.
Since fall, he began to double as a pitcher and is called "Michinoku's Darvish." He pitches with a mighty 151 km/h (93 mph) fastball.
He was discovered by the scout of a professional baseball team.
Participated in a high school baseball tournament with select teams only, during his third (senior) year of high school.
Hit a home run off rival pitcher Shintaro Fujinami.

・In 2013, he was drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters as the first overall pick.
He made his professional debut in earnest. (He was not selected for the Rookie of the Year award that year because he was hit in the face by a ball and had to miss a game.
・In 2016, he became the first player in the NPB to win 10 games, hit 100 hits and hit 20 home runs, but fell short of the required number of innings pitched and missed out on his second consecutive best defensive rating.
・In 2017, he joined the MLB, signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
・In 2018, he became the fourth Japanese baseball player to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining the likes of Hideo Nomo, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Ichiro.
・He is now a member of Instagram, although his profile is not public. He has more than 10,000 followers.

MLB Rookie of the Year Award

In the major leagues, the Rookie of the Year Award is an award that attracts a lot of attention every year because it's an honor that can only be received once when the player is still a rookie.
To win the award, players must have rookie status, which is defined as follows:

・If you're a pitcher, you must have thrown no more than 50 innings of baseball in the previous year's majors, and if you're a fielder, you must have had no more than 130 at-bats.
・The player who receives the highest number of votes from journalists belonging to the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be selected as the winner of the award.
Therefore, the award is not limited to baseball players in their first year with the organization.

Shohei Ohtani shares his thoughts about winning the award at 0:20 in the video.
At 1:30, he mentions how the support of fans and those around him helped push him.

Summary of Rookie of the Year, Shohei Otani

In 2019, Ohtani missed games due to injury and his yearly salary dropped to $700,000, but due to his hard work strength training paid off and he made a great comeback and was greeted with an "Ohtani Saan!" from the fans at the ballpark.
The response from non-Japanese fans was also very positive, with many saying his recovery and dedication was admirable.
However, he has never been one to let his popularity get in the way of his success, and he has been writing a "Goal Achievement Sheet" since his high school baseball days to complete a rigorous training program.
It's expected that he will continue to excel well into the future.

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
17 Years Since Ichiro! Shohei Otani Talks About the Joy of Receiving the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award!
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