MLB: Shohei Ohtani adds a new pitch to his arsenal

Frederlin Castro

Shohei Ohtani is not having as good a season in 2022 as he did in 2021. He’s on 8.1 WAR pace, down a bit from last year’s 9.0 WAR mark, AL MVP winnerbut the form of its production has changed. Pitcher Ohtani has outpaced hitter Ohtani.

The comparison

Pitcher Ohtani debuted a new pitch, in his penultimate outing. He used a two-seam fastball for the first time in his career. Ohtani told reporters that he has been working on the pitch in bullpen sessions and ultimately decided to take it to games.

Ohtani has five pitches in his repertoire and they all go to both righties and lefties. He throws a four-seam fastball over 90, a splitter, a slider, a curveball and a cutter. Now this new sinker gives you a sixth pitch. It’s fair to wonder if six pitches is too many.

Four-seam straights have been all the rage in recent seasons. Throwing from north to south was, and still is, very effective, although everything in this game is cyclical. Teams are starting to focus back on the sinker and slider.

There is no more talented player in the world right now than Ohtani. Never before have you performed as well as you on both sides of the ball, and it requires a unique level of skill and aptitude. I hope he masters the sinker and turns it into a viable weapon. It might not happen right away, since learning a new pitch is hard, but I wouldn’t have taken him to a game if he wasn’t serious about adding him to his arsenal. As good as it is, the new sinker shows that Ohtani is still working to get better.

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MLB: Shohei Ohtani adds a new pitch to his arsenal