Chicago Cubs: The Otani situation, and how the Cubs fit in

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(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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OSAKA, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 12: Pitcher Shohei Otani
OSAKA, JAPAN – NOVEMBER 12: Pitcher Shohei Otani /

I guess it would be reasonable that you haven’t heard of him, I don’t spend all of my time watching Japanese baseball either.

Shohei Otani is the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters best pitcher.  Two things: one that’s one of the best names I’ve ever heard, secondly Otani isn’t just a great pitcher, he’s also a great hitter.

When was the last time there was an excellent hitter who was also an outstanding pitcher?  Well, there was that guy… uh, what’s his name again?  Oh yeah, George Herman Ruth! I get it now!

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Before you look at his stats, understand that while Japanese Baseball is still respectable professional baseball, it’s not the same thing as the majors or even some of the minor leagues.

According to Baseball Reference, in 2016 Otani had a 1.86 ERA and a 0.957 WHIP, in 21 games (20 of which he started.)  I feel like it’s safe to say that those numbers are not too bad.

At the same time, he had a slash line of .322/.416/.588 while hitting 22 homers.  Again, pretty solid numbers.