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“He Was Overswinging”: Shohei Ohtani’s Poor Start to the Season Decoded By Former World Series Champion

Published 04/19/2024, 9:30 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Imagine being surrounded by problems but calmly thinking of solutions. That’s peak performance; that’s a huge mentality. Shohei Ohtani has been experiencing something similar this year. Ever since his Los Angeles Dodgers debut, the two-way phenom has been hit by setbacks after setbacks. Yet, Ohtani has stood firm. starting to show his old ways once again. 

However, Ohtani wasn’t alone during that journey. The entire Blue Crew came in support of their $700 million superstar. One can’t overstate the importance of a good support system. But while all of this was going on, Ohtani’s Dodgers career started rather slowly. He couldn’t hit properly and went through a small home run drought. Now the former All-Star and World Series winner, Dontrelle Willis, has given his two cents on this matter.

D-Train appeared on FS1’s MLB show to talk about Ohtani’s recent surge in form. The Miami Marlins legend noted that, despite so much happening in his personal life, Ohtani’s performances haven’t deteriorated. While Willis credited the Dodgers, he noted that it’s also because Ohtani has worked on himself this season. “Early on, he was overswinging, helmet was coming off. They slowed him down,” Willis said.

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This is something that has been noted before too. Earlier in the season, Ohtani wasn’t making proper connections. Part of the reason was that he’d swing at balls that he normally would avoid. That extended his home run drought but eventually Ohtani overcame it.

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The two-way phenomenon’s tendency to overswing is visible during situations with runners on base. Ohtani’s currently 1-19 in those situations due to his early swings. However, if what Willis has said about the Dodgers is true, Ohtani could return to his best in no time.

How the Dodgers made Shohei Ohtani feel like one of their own

During the same interview, D-Train noted how the Dodgers’ efforts to make Shohei Ohtani feel comfortable have worked. The constant support from Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts and consistent backing from the squad have shortened Ohtani’s adjustment period. His chemistry with the team is visible from the sunflower seed celebrations and other light-hearted situations Ohtani finds himself in.

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However, the most important statement by Willis was that he felt Ohtani’s arrival could change the Dodgers’ fortune. Though the Blue Crew did win the World Series in 2020, the fact that it was in a COVID-shortened season made that win feel a little hollow. But with Ohtani’s arrival, things could change. “He might be the centerpiece to get the (Dodgers) to the World Series and get them over the hump,” Willis said.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers certainly hope that is the case. What better way to start this journey with their $700 million superstar than to win the World Series in the very first year?

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Written by:

Sanskar Dubey

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Sanskar Dubey is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. From writing various aspects of baseball like MLB Rule Modifications to diving deep into the world of minor and major leagues, Sanskar covers it all. He loves to write for the sport when there is a hot tussle between the National League and American League throughout the season.
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