Shohei Ohtani Set for Unprecedented Hitting Year? UCL Injury Helps Shift Two-Way Stars 2024 Focus

Published 02/11/2024, 9:30 AM EST

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Modern-day Babe Ruth aka Shohei Ohtani is ready to be back on the diamond. Wearing his Los Angeles Dodgers’ blue jersey the two-way phenom is set to make a banger entry to season 2024. His comeback after a premature exit last year is much awaited and that’s particularly when his UCL injury has deprived him of pitching until yet another year. So is it time for some offensive dominance? 

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With his pitching season on hold owing to his recovery(ongoing) from the injury, Ohtani’s priority will only be hitting. This is a massive opportunity for the Japanese superstar to unleash his full hitting potential. While some will miss seeing his dual prowess, perhaps his unidirectional focus is a disguise. The rigors of taking the mound are no secret after all. But will the stars align for him to unlock an unprecedented season? 

Can Shohei Ohtani Defy Expectations and Rewrite Batting Records in 2024?

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First things first, let’s look at Shotime’s hitting stats over the past few years. There has been a clear upward trend in his trajectory. A couple of years ago, in 2021, he slashed .257/.356/.592 with 46 dingers. Then the following year, 2022, those numbers went up to .273/.362/.624 with 34 homers. Not to mention, he handled his pitching workload well. This is only indicative of the 2x unanimous MVP’s evolving hitting. Imagine what it would be if he dedicated this entire season to just hitting. 

Yes, the possibilities are tantalizing. There are several factors in support of the argument that this April would be a start to an exceptional hitting season. Firstly, Ohtani will have more plate appearances. As a designated hitter, it’s fair to expect around 600 plate appearances in comparison to the 450-500 that he typically gets while managing pitching and hitting. If this is not a translation into more opportunities then what is? 

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Secondly, as far as refining his swing and approach at the plate is concerned, this could be the time to focus. In the absolute absence of the demands of pitching, he can delve deeper into hitting mechanics, pitch recognition, and game strategy. This comes with an additional advantage of a lighter workload, improved health and stamina. 

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Thirdly, with pitching out of the question, Ohtani’s might find his health in a better place with a reduced risk of injuries. Now, that’s what the 29-year-old needs the most at the moment. With that, perhaps one can say that peak-Ohtani-performances are incoming. 

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Shohei Ohtani Embraces Rookie Humility, Despite Historic $700 Million Contract

With great power comes great responsibilities. And that’s the case with the Dodgers and Ohtani in particular, considering his gargantuan contract value that created a buzz that still hasn’t ceased. No doubt he has a great work ethic and is result oriented, but with health as a challenge of late, the stakes are higher. Although there are risks, the upcoming months are going to be truly thrilling and ground-breaking for Ohtani. 

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Written by:

Kanishka Prakash

550Articles

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"Our identity is forged through consistent actions. True excellence is not a singular act; rather, it is ingrained in our daily habits." Since I was a teen, I learned that the best way I could express myself was by writing.
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