Out of Ohtani's 1st 100 home runs, these 10 stand out

2 years ago

Shohei Ohtani just reached one of the first big career home run milestones: No. 100.

The Angels’ two-way superstar has had plenty of memorable big flies on his way to 100 homers in the big leagues. Let’s revisit the best of them.

Here are the top 10 home runs from Ohtani’s MLB career so far.

1) April 4, 2021 vs. White Sox (off Dylan Cease)

It’s the defining Ohtani home run. This was the game that started it all in Ohtani’s MVP 2021 season — he was hitting and pitching in the same game for the first time, he hit 100 mph three times in the top of the first inning as a pitcher, and then he came to bat in the bottom of the first and did this. A 115.2 mph, 451-foot monster home run off a 97 mph fastball from Dylan Cease. Ohtani is the only player in Statcast history to throw a pitch 100 mph and hit a ball 115 mph in the same game, let alone the same inning.

2) April 3, 2018 vs. Guardians (off Josh Tomlin)

There’s no home run like your first one. It might be easy to forget how big of an unknown Ohtani was as he entered his first big league season. His legend preceded him as he jumped from Japan to the Majors, but his struggles in Spring Training raised questions about whether he’d be a star here. Ohtani started answering those questions immediately. Two days after winning his pitching debut on April 1, Ohtani belted his first home run as a hitter — in his first home at-bat at Angel Stadium. That kicked off his Rookie of the Year campaign.

3) June 28, 2021 vs. Yankees (off Michael King)

The Angels have hit over 1,000 home runs since Statcast started tracking in 2015 … and Ohtani hit the hardest one of them all. Ohtani ripped this 117.2 mph home run into the right-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium last summer, setting a new Angels record for the team’s hardest homer. It’s harder than any home run Mike Trout or Albert Pujols ever hit for the Angels. Actually, the record he broke was his own — Ohtani first passed Trout’s previous record of 116.8 mph with a 117.0 mph homer on May 25.

4) July 7, 2021 vs. Red Sox (off Eduardo Rodriguez)

Hideki Matsui’s 31 home runs in 2004 stood as the single-season record for a Japanese player in MLB for 16 years. In 2021, Ohtani smashed through it. The record-setting home run No. 32 came against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium just before the All-Star break, and it was an absolute rocket: 114.5 mph off the bat and 433 feet to right field. Ohtani surpassing Godzilla was a major achievement, considering Matsui’s stature among Japanese-born baseball players.

5) May 16, 2021 vs. Red Sox (off Matt Barnes)

Ohtani’s most clutch home run to date. He doesn’t have a walk-off home run in the big leagues … yet … but this one was just as big. The Angels were down to their last out at Fenway Park, trailing 5-4 in the top of the ninth, when Ohtani turned on a 96.7 mph fastball from closer Matt Barnes and hooked it just fair inside Pesky’s Pole down the right-field line for a go-ahead two-run homer. The Angels held on to complete the comeback win, 6-5.

6) Sept. 5, 2018 vs. Rangers (off Austin Bibens-Dirkx)

This home run is a perfect representation of just how unique of a player Ohtani is. It happened the very same day the Angels announced that Ohtani needed Tommy John surgery and shut him down as a pitcher for the remainder of his rookie year. For anyone else, it would have been the end of the season, period. But Ohtani is one of a kind. For him, it just meant he could play the game as the DH a few hours later and crush not one, but two home runs. This one, the first one, was a 107.3 mph, 45-degree moonshot — the highest home run Ohtani has hit in his big league career. He had four hits in the game, including the two homers.

7) Aug. 18, 2021 vs. Tigers (Jose Cisnero)

Ohtani getting to the 40-home run milestone was an incredible achievement when you combine it with all the other round numbers he hit in 2021: 40 homers, 25 steals, 100 RBIs, 150 pitching strikeouts. There’s never been a season like it in baseball history. Home run No. 40 was a 110.1 mph, 430-foot shot to deep right field at Comerica Park.

8) June 8, 2021 vs. Royals (off Kris Bubic)

470 feet. Four hundred seventy. We have to get Ohtani’s most prolific homer on the list. The best part of this home run has to be Michael A. Taylor, the center fielder, just standing still and staring up at the ball while it lands in the back of the bleachers. Of nearly 39,000 home runs hit in MLB since 2015, only 130 have gone 470 feet or farther. That’s 0.3%. You need top-of-the-scale power to hit a home run that far in a game. This is Ohtani’s longest career homer … so far.

9) April 6, 2018 vs. A’s (off Daniel Gossett)

Ohtani’s first big home run. He’d only been in the Major Leagues for a week. He hit his first career homer three days before, and he homered off reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber two days before. Those were the first signs Ohtani was for real … and after this homer, there was no doubt: 112.4 mph off the bat, 449 feet to the rocks in dead center at Angel Stadium. A beautiful home run that showcased that Ohtani had elite MLB power for the first time.

10) May 9, 2022 vs. Rays (off Calvin Faucher)

As great as he was in his MVP season in 2021, as great as he was in his Rookie of the Year season in 2018, as great as he was in Japan, Ohtani had never done one thing in his professional baseball career: hit a grand slam. He finally checked that box in 2022 with an opposite-field slam against the Rays at the Big A. It was his first grand slam in either MLB or Nippon Professional Baseball, as he never hit one in his five seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters.