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#pounditSunday, January 16, 2022

Shohei Ohtani explains how league has tried to adjust to him

Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani is a once-in-a-century mythical baseball creature, and he is forcing the rest of the league to adjust on the fly.

At a recent news conference in his native Japan, the Los Angeles Angels two-way star explained how Major League Baseball has tried to adapt to him.

“My numbers did drop after the All-Star break, but my batting was actually getting refined toward the end of the year,” he said, as translated by Reddit user Love2JarJar. “The second half home runs were hit while pitchers were locating their pitches very well against me. I was able to choose the pitches carefully and could hit the few, occasional easy ones into the stands.

“I had a lot of easy pitches thrown at me in the first half, and couldn’t square up with a quite a lot of them,” Ohtani continued. “Me being able to hit that many home runs despite that really shows how many easy pitches everyone was giving me. In the second half I was given almost nothing, but I still had to concentrate, draw a walk, and be ready to crush that one easy pitch. The home runs I hit in those circumstances were completely different from those I hit in the first half.”

The 27-year-old Ohtani clobbered 33 home runs in the first half of the year, which was the best in baseball at the time. But he hit just 13 home runs the rest of the way and finished the season third in the league in that category. Ohtani also walked nearly twice as often in the second half as he did in the first half. It sounds like pitchers simply stopped giving him anything good to hit whatsoever. Even so however, Ohtani still managed to piece together some truly impressive at-bats.

The Angels are expected to get sluggers Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon back from injury next season. That means that opponents should no longer be able to pitch around Ohtani, and he could have an even better 2022.

Photo: Aug 21, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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