June 30, 2021

Shohei Ohtani: First Player In 91 Years (2nd In 134 Years) To Hit Two Home Runs And Start The Next Game On The Mound; On Pace For 57 Home Runs, Has 2.58 ERA In 11 Starts

Shohei Ohtani hit two home runs against the Yankees last night. When he starts tonight's game on the mound for the Angels, he will be the fifth major league player (but the first in 91 years and only the second in 134 years) to have achieved that particular feat. The first four:

1883 - Monte Ward (New York Gothams, National League)
1886 - Bob Caruthers (St. Louis Browns, American Association)
1887 - John Clarkson (Chicago White Stockings, National League)
1930 - Babe Ruth (New York Yankees, American League)

Sarah Langs has the info:

Monte Ward: 2 home runs May 3, 1883 vs Beaneaters; Starting pitcher May 4, 1883 vs Grays
Bob Caruthers: 2 home runs August 16, 1886 vs Trolley-Dodgers; Starting pitcher August 19, 1886 vs Alleghenys
John Clarkson: 2 home runs August 13, 1887 vs Wolverines, Starting pitcher August 15, 1887 vs Wolverines
Babe Ruth: 2 home runs September 27, 1930 at Athletics; Starting pitcher September 18, 1930 at Red Sox

His June game log is actually far more impressive than that, since he also batted in games he pitched and did more than hit home runs. But you get the idea . . .

Ohtani has homered in three straight games and he leads the major leagues with 28. He has hit 11 home runs in his last 13 games. Ohtani is on pace to hit 57 homers this year and he has a 2.58 ERA in 11 starts.

His home run on Monday had an exit velocity of 117.2 mph. It was the hardest-hit homer by an Angels player, as recorded by Statcast (since 2015). Ohtani has hit five home runs this year with a 115+ mph exit velocity, the most of any player.

Most Career Home Runs, With 100+ Pitching Strikeouts (Since 1900)

               Home Runs   P-K
Babe Ruth:        714      501

Rick Ankiel:       76      
Shohei Ohtani:     75      

Ohtani's MLB Rankings:

WAR (All Players): 1st (5.7)
Home Runs: 1st (28)
Win Probability Added: 1st (3.8)
Extra-Base Hits: 1st (49)
Total Bases: 2nd (183)
Slugging Percentage: 2nd (.688)
On-Base + Slugging: 3rd (1.049)
Runs Batted In: 3rd (63)
Runs Created: 3rd (67)

His 2.58 ERA would rank 13th in MLB, ahead of Trevor Bauer, Tyler Glasnow, and Gerrit Cole.

Ohtani has struck out at least five batters in each of 11 starts this year. That's the longest streak to begin a season by an Angels pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1978. In his last four starts, Ohtani has a 2.35 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 23 innings.

Ohtani is the fifth player in history with a 2.0+ WAR as both a hitter and a pitcher in the same season:

                     Hitting  Pitching
Babe Ruth, 1918:       4.7      2.3
Wes Ferrell, 1935:     2.5      8.5
Don Newcombe, 1955:    2.3      2.9
Don Drysdale, 1965:    2.1      3.3
Shohei Ohtani, 2021:   3.1      2.6

Ohtani's 2021 season is the 2,523rd instance of a major league player hitting 25 home runs in a season. The previous 2,522 players totaled 41 pitching strikeouts combined (and Babe Ruth had 36 of the 41). Ohtani has struck out 82 batters this season, twice as many as those other 2,522 players combined.

Through a team's first 60 games, since 1900, there have been 2,351 pitchers with 60+ strikeouts and 722 batters with 15+ home runs. Shohei Ohtani is the only player in both groups.

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