Shohei Otani might be the best Japanese baseball player since Ichiro Suzuki.
The 22-year-old pitcher, outfielder and designated hitter currently plays for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. However, reports suggest he could soon land an MLB contract worth roughly $300 million.
What makes Otani worth such a mega-deal is his incredible versatility. He's one heck of a pitcher, as he finished this past season with a league-best 1.86 ERA. He once threw a pitch 102.5 mph, setting a record for the fastest pitch ever thrown by a Japanese pitcher. But Otani is also an intimidating slugger at the plate. Despite a limited number of plate appearances last season, he smacked 22 home runs and drove in 67 RBIs.
In a recent World Baseball Classic exhibition game, Otani showcased his awesome power by driving a ball straight out of the Tokyo Dome.
For all we know, that ball might still in flight. Per Tokyo Dome rules, Otani was awarded a ground-rule double. That was a lucky break for the pitcher, because the ball looked like it would have been a no-doubt home run in an open-air stadium.
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