There’s little that Nippon Ham Fighters’ right-hander Shohei Otani can’t do.
He can pitch, as evidenced by three record-breaking pitches in high school and the Nippon Professional Baseball league and a monster 2016 season that saw a 1.86 ERA, 174 strikeouts, and a 3.87 K/BB in 140 innings.
He can hit, as demonstrated by a career .275/.347/.491 batting line, replete with 40 home runs and an .838 OPS in four seasons with the Fighters.
He can command top-tier salaries from MLB teams, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who estimates offers in the $200-300 million range when the 22-year-old makes his long-anticipated jump to the MLB circuit in the next year or two.
And, thanks to the unique structure of the Tokyo Dome, he can also make baseballs disappear.
During the seventh inning of an exhibition game against the Netherlands on Sunday, Otani muscled a fly ball that vanished among the paneled roof of the Tokyo Dome. A hush fell over the crowd as officials and teammates tried to figure out exactly where the ball was lodged, watching as Otani rounded the bases for a home run. After some deliberation, the umpires rescinded the scoring change and called the hit a ground-rule double.
The full video is below:
PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.
The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.
The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.
Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.
Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.
In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.
Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.
With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.