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There is nobody else like Shohei Ohtani in Major League Baseball. He is one of one.
The 28-year-old international superstar continues to do freakish things each and every outing, and has broken a lot of records along the way.
Ohtani is hitting .289 with 24 RBIs, and 22 runs scored in 142 at-bats over 37 games in 2023. He also sports a 2.74 ERA with four wins, one loss and five quality starts in 46 innings pitched over eight starts.
There is nothing that Ohtani cannot do on the mound or at the plate.
In addition to his two-way dominance, the Japanese-native leads the league in a niche statistical category. Ohtani has reached base because of catcher interference more often than every other player in Major League Baseball and it’s not particularly close.
‘Catcher interference’ is defined as the following by the MLB:
“The batter is awarded first base if the catcher (or any other fielder) interferes with him at any point during a pitch.”
Shohei Ohtani has been interfered with on five separate occasions.
No other player has reached base on catcher interference three or five times. Only six players have reached base on catcher interference twice. 17 players have reached base on catcher interference once.
Here is a look at all five instances of Ohtani reaching base on catcher interference in 2023:
Now why is that? The answer is simple.
First and foremost, Ohtani is 6-foot-4 with a large swing radius and sets up deep in the batter’s box. While many hitters get their power from the body shifting forward on a swing, Ohtani is different. He gets most of his power from the torque of his rotation, which requires him to sit back more than others.
In addition, catchers know the damage that Ohtani can do, so they probably work him more cautiously and aggressively. They will need to adjust to Ohtani’s stance and swing to avoid interference, which could have a direct impact on the amount of wild pitches and passed balls because they will be crouched a few inches/feet back than normal.
Ohtani is a unicorn. Not only is he the most dominant two-way player of all-time, he is literally impacting the game in ways that you might not ever notice or expect!