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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Quite a Sho: Ohtani ties Ruth, passes Ichiro in same game

Another night, another milestone. Such is the life of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

In Tuesday night’s 5-1 win over the A’s, Ohtani added not just one, but three feats to his already lengthy list of career accomplishments.

In short: Ohtani joined Babe Ruth in an exclusive club, moved up on the all-time home run list for Japanese-born players and set a single-season career high in strikeouts. Yes, all that in one night.

“I feel like every time we’re out there, he does something special,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “Tonight, certainly another great milestone for him.”...

Ohtani tossed six scoreless innings to earn his 10th win of the season for the first time in his Major League career. He joins “The Babe” as the only two players in AL/NL history to win at least 10 games on the mound and hit at least 10 home runs in the same season. Ruth did it over 100 years ago, going 13-7 on the mound while going deep 11 times for the Red Sox in 1918.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 12:56 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shohei ohtani

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   1. Karl from NY Posted: August 10, 2022 at 02:21 PM (#6091068)
Obviously the next question is, if nobody else had 10+10 pitching wins and batting HR, who was the next highest? I checked Wes Ferrell who is the answer to most pitcher-hitting questions, and sure enough he had 9 HR and 22 W in 1931.

(This is ripe for a trivia question for the top ten or twenty in that stat, though I think BBref requires a subscription to query for the data.)

I'm also curious about that "AL/NL history" qualifier there. I can't imagine someone did 10+10 in the deadball-era Federal League. Guessing some Negro Leaguer did it?
   2. Lonnie Smith for president Posted: August 10, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6091072)
Please also include context for Ohtani's 11 (and counting) stolen bases this season. It's not the master class of baserunning -- 26sb/10cs, 26 doubles, 8 league-leading triples -- he put on in 2021, but dang. What can't this fellow do well?
   3. Banta Posted: August 10, 2022 at 02:53 PM (#6091078)
It’s still remarkable to me that Ohtani is basically equally great (but not otherworldly) in all aspects of the game. Most unique player in MLB history by a landslide. It’s also almost necessary that someone would have to be like him to be a two-way player, if he was significantly better at pitching or hitting, I’m sure he would have been converted at some point.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 03:20 PM (#6091085)

I'm also curious about that "AL/NL history" qualifier there. I can't imagine someone did 10+10 in the deadball-era Federal League. Guessing some Negro Leaguer did it?


The article says that Ed Rile and Bullet Rogan did it in the Negro Leagues.
   5. John Northey Posted: August 10, 2022 at 03:57 PM (#6091094)
1918 was Ruth's last year winning 10+ as a pitcher. The next year he won 'just' 9 over 17 games/133 IP. 1918 was also his first time hitting 10+ HR (winning the HR title with those 11) and led in K's with 58. He never led in pitcher strikeouts though. Pitcher categories for Ohtani to shoot for that Ruth got at some point are ERA, games started, complete games, shutouts, ERA+, H/9, HR/9 (Ruth went a whole season without allowing a HR). Of course, Ruth's hitting records are mostly untouchable - 12 HR titles including 6 straight from age 31-36 for example.

What will be very interesting is to see if Ohtani goes to free agency in the winter of 2023/24. What the heck do you pay to get him? $40 mil per has to be the very lowest bid over 10 years I'd think. For ages 29-38. Big money risk for whoever pays it but massive penetration into the Japanese market and opens a roster slot (bonus!).
   6. DCA Posted: August 10, 2022 at 04:05 PM (#6091095)
He's pretty otherwordly as a pitcher. A little short on volumne, but career ERA+ 133 and FIP 3.18. Those would be 5th and 8th among active SP with 1000+ IP (just behind Scherzer in both). Basically, he an all-around athlete pitcher who had the opportunity to develop offensively and defensively.

I would not be surprised if guys like Greinke and Bumgarner (who are in Ohtani's class as pitchers/athletes and are very good hitters "for a pitcher" despite being converted to SP only after high school) could similarly excel if they trained hitting as Ohtani did. They might not - plenty of good hitting prospects who develop as hitters don't end up with a 137 OPS+ in MLB - but I think Ohtani is the perfect combo of not just offense and pitching ability, but also opportunity.
   7. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 10, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6091097)
I'm also curious about that "AL/NL history" qualifier there.

My guess is you're going see more of that. Not everyone agrees with chest-puffing "the Negro Leagues are Major Leagues!" stuff.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2022 at 04:56 PM (#6091110)
What will be very interesting is to see if Ohtani goes to free agency in the winter of 2023/24. What the heck do you pay to get him? $40 mil per has to be the very lowest bid over 10 years I'd think

How much the Japanese market penetration helps a team generate local revenues is an interesting question. Ichiro reportedly was a draw at least in the first few years, has Ohtani had an effect on Angels' attendance (above and beyond, say, Juan Soto's effect on attendance)? Overall Angels attendance was dead flat from 2016-19 (2 years before, first 2 years) at just over 3 M and 2nd-3rd in the league. In 2021, they fell to 6th; this year they're 5th and will probably end around 2.5 M. Of course they haven't been good for a while so a drop in attendance would probably be expected under more normal circumstances too. How have TV ratings been? When was the deal signed and when does it expire? Having Ohtani on a team when negotiating a new deal is probably helpful.

(Remember, merchandise sales fall under common revenue shared equally across the league. Any revenue you might actually generate in Japan is probably common revenue too. You need Ohtani to increase local revenue to add substantially to the bottom line.)

On the roster slot ... sorta. He's been on a firm 6-game rotation the last two years. If that's necessary to keep the arm and the bat fresh then he doesn't really save a roster slot since you still need 5 other SPs.

In short, you pay him whatever you'd pay any other 8-9 WAR player who'll be turning 29. We're not exactly overflowing with comps. Ohtani is scheduled to be FA before Soto but if SD unexpectedly works out a deal with Soto we'll have a better idea what such players are paid in the post-covid world. Ohtani's an interesting contract because he is a good but not great hitter (and maybe limited to DH) while half his overall value comes with a pitcher's much higher injury risk.

As just a hitter, we might expect something like JDM's contract (or its 2024 equivalent). As a pitcher only, he'd do very well but it's very unlikely he'd get 10 years. (Gerrit Cole isn't out of the question comp-wise though if Ohtani can handle a full starter's load.)

So using some very questionable assumptions and dodgy math ... if JDM could get 5/$125-135 and 2/3 of Cole is 9/$216 ... those extra years of JDM would be worth something so even 9/$400 could be quite reasonable but I'd also say it's not a given that he'll get 10/$400 (unless the marketing boost is genuine.)

I think it's an interesting question as to how high teams will go for 20-25 starts a year. With Scherzer and Bauer we've seen them pay quite a lot on short-term deals for (hopefully) 30 starts a year, Verlander will probably get something similar next year. On the other hand, the fragile Kershaw got 1/$18 -- but of course Ohtani isn't (we hope) fragile like Kershaw so a longer-term deal for him isn't so risky.

In short, if Ohtani can hit like this and pitch like this while starting 30 games a year then I agree the sky's the limit ... but then that's a potential 11-12 WAR player. I'm still not sure he gets 10 years though unless that's just to spread the payments out.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:34 PM (#6091120)
#7 ... there are legit questions about the number of games, etc.; legit questions about quality (that MLB has decided aren't large enough to care about); and then there's just getting used to it.

I mean what's a batting "qualified season" for these purposes? At b-r, the ML record for highest batting average in a season is now 471 by Tetelo Vargas in 1943 for the NY Cubans. Vargas was 37!! But with barely over 2 PA per team game, I'm not clear why he's at the top in his 136 PA. So maybe it should be Josh Gibson in 1943, hitting 466 for the Homestead Giants. Next on the list is Charlie Smith in 1929 at 451.

I'm not sure anybody's noticed but the last time somebody hit 400 in the major leagues is now Josh Gibson 1943 not Ted Williams 1941 (using the 3.1 PA criterion). Fortunately it's somebody memorable. (b-r probably should clean up its list.)

Of course in the grand scheme of things, a debate over "but I don't wanna learn new record holders", league-wide quality and playing time criteria are all quite trivial. It's awesome to have the stats so easily available now and it's great that these players are getting more recognition. As we all know, it will never make up for segregation. And the presence of NeL stats in official ML records is no more an issue than Cap Anson's 1871 stats, most 19th c stats, Fed League stats or WW2 stats being included as well.

So sure, we'll see more "NL/AL" claims -- at least those reporters are being precise. It's not a matter of disagreeing with the "chest-puffing", it's a matter of having become accustomed to not seeing names like Ed Rile and Bullet Rogan in these lists and the reporter deciding that "hasn't been done since Ed Rile in 1927" wasn't gonna impress a lot of readers.

I'm not a big fan of it in this specific case -- rate stats are one thing but if NeL players hit counting stat criteria in fewer games then, given these are now considered ML games, they should definitely be in the list. Ed Rile started only 16 games and 2 relief appearances but still went 11-6. Ohtani got his 10th win in his 19th start.
   10. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:03 PM (#6091126)
I checked Wes Ferrell who is the answer to most pitcher-hitting questions, and sure enough he had 9 HR and 22 W in 1931.


Either that or Ohtani's 9 W (in 23 starts) and 46 HR last year
   11. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:17 PM (#6091132)
There were initially some data quality issues with the NeL stats that appear to be getting resolved. When the NeL players were first added to the BB-Ref leaderboards, it was noted here that Hilton Smith was now the single season WHIP leader with 0.618 in 22.2 innings in 1944.

However, if you look at Smith's 1944 now, you see that he had a 1.248 WHIP in 49.2 innings that season, and he no longer has the record (although he did have the 9th-best WHIP season in 1941). Apparently they were able to find box scores for more of his games in the past year. I think this entire effort over at BB-Ref is great, although maybe they were a bit premature in adding guys to the leaderboards when the data was as incomplete as it was.

I agree there's no issue with it in this case, when we're talking about counting stats.
   12. Banta Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:28 PM (#6091136)
6, good point. I made the mistake of mentally looking at OPS+ and ERA+ as roughly equivalent when I know better.
   13. Booey Posted: August 10, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6091168)
#9 - Yeah, BBREF has the last .400 hitters as Artie Wilson and Willard Brown, who both did it in 1948 (in a whopping 130 and 197 PA's).

I don't have a problem with the decision to count NeL stats as MLB despite the valid concerns about quality of play, but I do think it's a mistake to include such short seasons on the single season record lists.
   14. John Northey Posted: August 11, 2022 at 11:44 AM (#6091261)
I think for NeL stats on leaderboards the requirement should be enough PA to qualify via the stats that are known and a minimum number of games (say 50 or something)
- Tetelo Vargas played just 30 games out of a 34 game "season" in 1943 but has the all-time BA title of 471.
- Josh Gibson that same year played 69 games out of a potential 71 (I think - the team's page shows 68 games but 71 starts...weird), 302 PA hitting 466 but 2nd for the batting title due to Vargas's 30 games. He had 302 known PA. That one I think we can accept a LOT easier than Vargas'.
- Artie Wilson 1948 played just 28 games on a team that played 89 (28 with stats but 89 games overall). Very odd indeed. This is a case where he shouldn't be on any leaderboards imo or with a big * as fewer than half his games are known, heck fewer than 1/3rd.

Those are just 3 examples of the oddities of NeL stats. Mix in how "Player stats include league games, interleague games (against major Negro League competition), and games against select top-level independent Black Baseball teams." and the data is a mess. If we had game logs listed it would help a bit for analysis, as would adding in any barnstorming games (could be a separate line - ala how we have a line for minor leaguers who play in fall leagues). Still, I'm happy to have whatever we can get.
   15. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 05:57 PM (#6091363)

I think for NeL stats on leaderboards the requirement should be enough PA to qualify via the stats that are known and a minimum number of games (say 50 or something)


Yeah something like that. I dont think going forward this is really that much of an issue. you just say

Highest Batting avg. (min 3 AB!)..... John Paciorek 1.000

Highest BA (min 100 AB) T Vargas .471

etc. etc. Every rate stat like that simply becomes modified by whatever context is necessary. Place, date, numbers, league, what sort of ball, what size ball park, how many balls for a walk, how far the pitchers mound was etc. It's messier but it's also more thorough and if it forces people to do a little more research than its all good.


- Artie Wilson 1948 played just 28 games on a team that played 89 (28 with stats but 89 games overall). Very odd indeed. This is a case where he shouldn't be on any leaderboards imo or with a big * as fewer than half his games are known, heck fewer than 1/3rd.


This quote might need a little more elaboration. I think what you are saying is that we have team records from 28 games that WIlson played in, but there are another 61+ games that season that we have little to no records of.

Is that correct?
   16. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 11, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6091377)
#9 - Yeah, BBREF has the last .400 hitters as Artie Wilson and Willard Brown, who both did it in 1948 (in a whopping 130 and 197 PA's).

I don't have a problem with the decision to count NeL stats as MLB despite the valid concerns about quality of play, but I do think it's a mistake to include such short seasons on the single season record lists.


Agree. I'm sure there were stretches during Brett and Carew's chase for .400 where they batted over .400 for 200 PA's

Gwynn, Boggs, heck maybe even Manny, Edgar or Votto had stretches of 200 PA's where they hit .400. 200 PA's is less then 40% a season, I'm sure there are quite a few guys over the last 70 years that have hit over .400 over a stretch like that.
   17. Ron J Posted: August 11, 2022 at 10:38 PM (#6091386)
#16 In 1980 Brett hit .472/.513/.972 (39 PAs) in June, .494/.541/.812 (98 PAs) in July and .430/.489/.645 (139 PAs) in August.

In 1977 Carew hit .372/.433/.543 (104 PAs) in May and then .487/.539/.775 (130 PAs) in June
   18. Ron J Posted: August 11, 2022 at 10:47 PM (#6091387)
Boggs 1987: May (116 PAs) .388/.466/.684 and June (125 PAs) .485/.581/.762

Ichiro 2004: July (125) .432/.460/.500 August (128) .463/.492/.636
   19. Mefisto Posted: August 12, 2022 at 08:47 AM (#6091391)
Has anyone told Jim that the site security certificate has expired and that it's a pain to get here?

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