Angels News: Shohei Ohtani Makes History In First 5 Starts Of 2023
MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Angels
Apr 11, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) throws to the plate in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With Shohei Ohtani in a contract year for the Los Angeles Angels, he continues to post unbelievable numbers on the mound, which is more of the same for the two-way superstar.

As the rest of the Angels’ starting rotation continues to shuffle their way around to find a groove, Ohtani has picked up directly where he left off in 2022. Carrying a 3-0 record through five starts, with a .082 WHIP through his first 28 innings.

Grading out among the best in baseball in expected batting average, strikeout rate, and barrel rate, he’s also generating career-high whiff numbers. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Ohtani’s ability to limit extra-base damage is off to a historic start:

He has yielded a 0.64 ERA, a .092 batting average, and a .115 slugging percentage in his first five starts. It’s the lowest by a pitcher with at least 20 innings to start a season since 1893 when the pitching mound was moved to its current distance of 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate.

The only blemish to Ohtani’s game early on was his walk numbers, he’s limited them to just three in his prior nine innings after surrendering 12 through his first three starts. With 92.3% of runners who are lucky enough to reach base left stranded, the few base hits he allows have resulted in little to no damage:

He has yielded just eight hits this season, and has given up three or fewer hits in his last nine starts, the second-longest streak since at least 1901.

Dating back to 2021, Ohtani has been one of the premiere pitchers in all of baseball, and his continued maturation in Major League Baseball is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Angels record will be a key factor in Shohei Ohtani availability via trade

Ohtani is checking all of the early season boxes for a successful rest of the year. At the plate, he’s posted a .787 on-base plus slugging with five homers, 13 RBI and three stolen bases, including a stellar starting record.

With a Rookie of the Year, MVP, Silver Slugger, Major League Player of the Year, a top-5 Cy Young finish, and two All-Star selections under his belt, Ohtani has filled his trophy case with some very important hardware. But the Angels have been unable to make a push toward the playoffs in his six seasons with the club, and without an extension, the consensus feeling is he’ll leave in free agency after the year.

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