Is Shohei Otani baseball's Superman?
No, he cannot run faster than a locomotive or leap over tall buildings in a single bound.
But he throws 100-plus mph fastballs and hits bombs that have the power to break through a stadium roof (literally). And he’s only 22 years old.
Here's some proof: Otani's home run that went through the roof at the Tokyo Dome.
And him pitching over 100 mph -- yes, he does look a bit like Yu Darvish when he pitches.
Unfortunately, Otani is currently on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Jon Wertheim from CBS' 60 Minutes highlighted the Japanese superstar on Sunday night, deeming him the Japanese Babe Ruth because of his prowess as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Should the Phillies make a push to get Otani? Why wouldn't they? Despite the fact that Otani would likely be better suited for an American League team where he could pitch every five days and hit as a DH on off days (if an AL team is open to such a unique arangement). The Phillies should still make a push because he would be relatively cheap at age 22 thanks to MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement.
Under MLB’s new CBA, any international player under the age of 25 is now capped at a million signing bonus. However, Otani says he is not looking to wait three more years when the chance for a bigger pay day would open up.
"Personally, I don’t care how much I get paid or how much less I get paid because of this," Otani said through a translator in the 60 Minutes segment.
His numbers are astonishing.
Otani, who plays for the Nippon Fighting Hams, has thrown the fastest pitch in league history at 102.5 mph.
As a starting pitcher last season, he went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA and averaged 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
His four-year pitching record for Nippon is 39-13 with a 2.49 ERA and 595 strikeouts.
The 2016 season was Otani’s best year at the plate. He hit .322 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs. This performance earned him the league's MVP.
John Gibson, a reporter who has covered Japaneese baseball for over 20 years, told CBS that the 22-year-old is simply unbelievable.
"You think about a guy who throws 101 (mph) and then a guy who hits home runs and that's a comic-book character," Gibson said. "That's not somebody you're thinking about in real life. You know, nobody does that. Who does that?"