Shohei Otani: Did You Know

Sponichi points out that the ‘S’ in Shohei Otani’s webbing stands for Shohei and Superman. ASICS made changes to the design after they received a request from Otani.

FYI: Superman merchandise silently became a hot item in the clubhouse when the team was in Arizona for spring camp in February.

Source: Sponichi 5/30/2016

Otani had two primary goals when he was in high school. He wrote the goals down on papers and posted them in the weight training room at his high school, Hanamaki Higashi.

The two goals were: Koshien and 163km/h.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/6/2016

Otani once hit a home run that was overturned when he was a child. He was a third-year elementary school student and played for Mizusawa Little. If was in the final inning of a game. He thought he hit a walk-off home run, but was called out immediately after he crossed the plate because his right foot landed outside of the batter’s box when he hit the ball. It would have been his “first” home run.

Otani ended up setting a new Iwate Little League record with thirty-five home runs (previous record was eighteen). He also went on to hit fifty-six home runs during his high school career.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/4/2016

Otani had to carry the pink My Melody water backpack for the pitchers on October 5. The youngest pitcher usually has to carry the backpack. Otani had managed to avoid it by saying he was a position player.

The water backpack idea was started by newcomer Toru Murata, similar to the pitchers’ candy bag in the Majors.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/5/2017

Seiko will be releasing a Shohei Otani model watch on February 17, 2017. Supplies will be limited to 3,000. The watch will cost 150,000 yen.

Source: Seiko announcement

Otani has had problems with his right ankle and is using a ShockMaster as part of his treatment. He is also trying to work out his stride so that he steps on first base with his left foot, instead of his right.

ShockMaster’s cost over five million yen. There are only about eighty in Japan right now.

Source: Nikkan Sports 2/22/2017

60 Minutes is doing a segment on Otani. Eight crew from the program were at Sapporo Dome on February 28 and will be tagging along for about a week. The segment is scheduled to air some time after March.

Source: Sponichi 3/1//2017, Nikkan Sports 3/1/2017

A commercial for SAVAS featuring Otani began airing on national TV on March 25.

Source: Sponichi 3/25/2017

Otani hates tomatoes. That includes cherry tomatoes and tomato juice.

Source: Nikkan Sports 11/28/2016

Otani’s dog, a golden retriever named Ace, passed away in July at the age of fifteen years and eight months.

Source: Sanspo 10/12/2017


Milestones

September 13, 2017 vs Rakuten at Sapporo Dome – Otani recorded a victory and became the first player to record at least one victory and one home run in five consecutive seasons since Suguru Egawa recorded at least one victory and one home run in six consecutive seasons between 1980 and 1985.

Otani also joined Akira Noguchi (forty-nine wins, sixty-one home runs), Michio Nishizawa (sixty wins, 212 home runs), and Junzo Sekine (sixty-five wins, fifty-nine home runs) as the only players in NPB history to record at least forty wins and forty home runs during their careers. Otani currently has forty wins and forty-seven home runs.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/13/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/13/2017

October 4, 2017 vs Orix at Sapporo Dome – Otani tossed a two-hit shutout, struck out ten, and went 1-for-4 while batting clean-up. He became the first starting pitcher to bat clean-up since Fumio Fujimura on October 7, 1951. He and Fujimura are the only pitchers to accomplish the feat since 1950. One Nippon Ham pitcher has accomplished the feat prior to 1950: Hiroshi Oshita on June 2, 1946 and May 5, 1947.

Otani is the first starting pitcher to toss a shutout and bat clean-up since Hideo Shimizu on July 29, 1944. He is the first to also record double-digit strikeouts since Tadashi Kameda on November 13, 1939.

Source: Sanspo 10/4/2017, Sponichi 10/4/2017, Sponichi 10/4/2017, Nikkan Sports 10/5/2017, Nikkan Sports 10/5/2017


Awards

Otani won the Hokkaido Sports Writers Club’s 2016 MVP Award. He also won the award in 2015.

Source: Nippon Ham announcement


Velocity

Velocity Date Game Opponent Team Venue
160 2012/07/19 HS Iwate Tournament   Ichinoseki Gakuin Iwate Stadium
160 2014/06/04 NPB Regular Season Maru, Yoshihiro Hiroshima Sapporo Dome
162 2014/07/19 NPB All-Star Game Toritani, Takashi Hanshin Koshien Stadium
162 2014/10/05 NPB Regular Season Akaminai, Ginji Rakuten Sapporo Dome
162 2016/03/02 NPB Exhibition Game Jones, Garrett Yomiuri Sapporo Dome
163 2016/06/05 NPB Regular Season Cruz, Luis Yomiuri Tokyo Dome
164 2016/09/13 NPB Regular Season Itoi, Yoshio Orix Sapporo Dome

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/14/2016


Salary Progression:

  • 2013 – 15.00M
  • 2014 – 30.00M
  • 2015 – 100.00M
  • 2016 – 200.00M
  • 2017 – 270.00M

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