Report | 15 MLB clubs watch Shohei Otani

Japan’s starter Shohei Otani gestures after taking two outs during the third inning of the semifinal game against South Korea at the Premier12 world baseball tournament at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)
Toru Takahashi/Associated Press

Scouts from at least 15 major league teams were on hand to watch Japanese phenom Shohei Otani pitch for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters on Thursday. One scout gave an account on Otani, saying that his fastball velocity ranged between 94 and 100 mph but that his command was spotty.

Otani went 3.1 innings and gave up four runs, including a three-run home run. However, it was just Otani’s second start of the season. The 23-year-old both pitches and hits, and through 45 games this year, he has registered a slash line of .342/.402/.548 with five home runs and 22 RBIs over 164 plate appearances.

Last year, Otani slashed .322/.416/.588 while connecting with 22 long balls and driving in 67 runs in what was a breakout offensive campaign for the star. On the mound, he went 10-4 with a minuscule 1.86 ERA, allowing 89 hits and just four home runs while striking out 174 opposing batters over 140 innings of work.

Otani is now in his fifth professional season.

During his rookie year in 2013, he posted a meager slash line of .238/.284/.376 and finished with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 204 trips to the dish. He also went 3-0 with a 4.23 ERA, surrendering 57 hits while recording 46 strikeouts across 61.2 frames of action. Otani showed true offensive promise in his second season, slashing .274/.338/.505 with 10 dingers and 31 RBIs through 234 plate appearances. That was also when he demonstrated his tremendous talent as a hurler, going 11-4 with a 2.61 ERA and giving up 125 hits while fanning 179 opposing hitters over 155.1 innings.

Over his career, Otani owns a record of 39-14 while pitching to the tune of a 2.55 ERA.

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