Two pitches show why the baseball world is so enthralled with the potential of Shohei Ohtani

Bob Levey/Getty ImagesShohei Ohtani hit triple digits with his fastball eight times on Tuesday, striking out seven batters in yet another impressive performance.
  • Shohei Ohtani is leaving baseball fans awestruck four starts into his MLB career.
  • On Tuesday, Ohtani hit another high-water mark, throwing eight pitches that touched 100 mph or faster.
  • Paired with a cutter that looks almost identical coming out of his hand, Ohtani has all the skills necessary to become one of the most unhittable pitchers in baseball.

Shohei Ohtani has already made clear why he was the most sought-after player in baseball this offseason.

The Japanese two-way phenom is off to about as good a start as one could have hoped for since joining the majors, impressing both on the mound and at the plate. But on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros, Ohtani took his game to another level.

While his evening wasn’t perfect – Ohtani allowed four earned runs through 5.1 innings of work – he showed flashes of brilliance throughout the game that no other starting pitcher in the majors can reach.

Ohtani hit triple digits with his fastball eight times on Tuesday, including four pitches clocking in at 101 mph. To put that in perspective, every other starting pitcher in the majors has combined for just nine such pitches so far this season, according to ESPN.

But Ohtani didn’t just blow by batters with his speed – he sent them swirling with a devastating splitter. As pitching coach Rob Friedman pointed out on Twitter, used together, Ohtani’s fastball and splitter are absolutely soul-crushing.

From his release, both pitches look identical to batters needing to make the micro-second decisions that go into swinging, but one shoots by them at breakneck speeds, and the other dives out of the zone while still hitting 91 mph on the gun.

Ohtani is just four starts into his MLB career and still has plenty of room for growth, but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear he has the potential to be one of the most unhittable pitchers in the league.

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