Ohtani first takes batting practice in an indoor cage, staying off the field to conserve energy and avoid the regimented schedule of on-field batting practice. Then, on nights he is pitching, he heads to the bullpen. He warms up by throwing balls of various weights against a wall as Mizuhara measures their speed to make sure he is reaching the proper exertion level. When he climbs the mound, Ohtani throws only about 20 pitches, about half what most pitchers throw. Ohtani is a virtual lock to be named American League Most Valuable Player, and he deserves consideration for the Cy Young Award as the league’s best pitcher. “He really sets the tone for himself,” Wise says. “He definitely gets down to the bullpen a little earlier than most pitchers because he is also hitting first or second. He’s pretty used to it. He throws around 20 pitches, takes a nice stroll to the dugout, puts his helmet on and gets to work. “The way he is saving energy and effort, it’s incredible. Even his bullpens [between starts] are very, very light. [They] are just to feel the slope of the mound with the ball coming out of his hand.” The genius of Ohtani as a at yahoo pitcher is in his artistry, a compliment rarely afforded someone who can throw 100 mph. Wise and catchers Max Stassi and Kurt Suzuki will review opposing hitters with Ohtani and Mizuhara before a game. view “He’s extremely intelligent, open to information, and his memory is very strong,” Wise says. But when the game starts, Ohtani goes more by feel than by script. Against the Tigers, for instance, he averaged 93.5 mph with his fastball in the first two innings and 97.8 mph in his last three. He complements it with four secondary pitches: curveball, slider, cutter and a split-finger fastball that acts as his changeup. It is thrown about 10 mph slower than his fastball with 34 inches of vertical drop. Of all the pitches thrown at least 400 times by all the pitchers since Ohtani joined the majors, his splitter is the most difficult pitch to hit. Batters have hit just .069 against Ohtani’s split, with only 11 hits over four years—none of them home runs.https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/09/14/shohei-ohtani-daily-cover
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