Shohei Ohtani’s inside story

I guess we all remember the scouting report, heck I wrote one that was published in Japanese by Slugger Magazine. Prior to his MLB debut, a majority of scouts believed that Shohei Ohtani would be vulnerable to inside pitches because of his long swing.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that for the first few weeks, the majority of pitches (51.2 percent) to Ohtani were either inside over the plate or inside off the plate with the data thanks to Brooks Baseball.

Announcers and analysts noted his early tendency to back away from the plate — even on outside pitches — at the start of the season. But it seems after he hit too many balls hard on pitches in on his hands, pitchers have changed their tactics and are now trying more and more to get him out away.

All pitches to Shohei Ohtani from March 30 to April 13, catcher’s view

During that time, Ohtani had the following batting averages per pitch in each zone:

Batting average on pitches from March 30 to April 14, catcher’s view

Since then, pitchers have been vastly more careful about throwing pitches inside to Ohtani, who likes to extend his arms and drive balls to center.

Catcher’s view of total pitches to Shohei Ohtani since April 14, 2018

Here are the results since then.

Batting average on pitches since April 14, catcher’s view

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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