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Tue Apr 13, 2021, 10:36 AM

Is Shohei Ohtani the best hitting pitcher in baseball history?

Ohtani pitches in the AL, and they donít use a DH when heís on the mound.

This morning, MLB.com is reporting that Ohtani, the winning pitcher in last nightís 10-3 win over the Royals, nailed a 119-mph double in the seventh that stands as the hardest hit so far this season. According to Statcast, only five batsmen have recorded hits at least that hard since 2015: Giancarlo Stanton did it nine times, Aaron Judge did it four, Nelson Cruz hit one ground-ball single, Gary Sanchez lined out and Ohtani hit one double.

When I was going through my email this morning and saw that, my first thought was obvious: isnít Ohtani in the league where pitchers donít hit? Apparently this guy didnít read the memo that says pitchers are supposed to be lousy at the plate.

As for Babe Ruth...he was a decent hitter on the Red Sox, but he didnít become the Sultan of Swat until the Yankees moved him to right field.

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is Shohei Ohtani the best hitting pitcher in baseball history? (Original post)
jmowreader Apr 13 OP
MLAA Apr 13 #1
First Speaker Apr 13 #2
ironflange Apr 13 #5
rampartc Apr 13 #3
nevergiveup Apr 13 #4
kairos12 Apr 14 #6
jmowreader Apr 14 #7
kairos12 Apr 14 #8
malthaussen Apr 15 #9

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 10:42 AM

1. I'm a Diamondbacks fan and will watch for Ohtani.

He will be fun to watch.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 11:13 AM

2. Yes, it's Babe Ruth...

...he was actually switched to the outfield in Boston, because he hit so well. He was famous as a hitter almost as soon as he began playing in the big leagues. He was *Babe Ruth* right from the start. In 1918, he won 13 games as a pitcher, and still, playing half-time as a pitcher-outfielder, led the AL in home runs. He broke the major league record for homers in 1919 with 29, still pitching occasionally. Ohtani is a helluva ballplayer, but he's not at Ruth's level--yet.

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Response to First Speaker (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 07:24 PM

5. As soon as Ohtani hits like Ruth, he'll find himself in the outfield too

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 11:45 AM

3. i will watch for him

i was looking dor greg maddox' batting stats, but the braves had a few pitchers in that era with good batting averages and a few home runs. tom glavine and smoltz were others.

this is a good list (2017.) they use on base percentage which seems fair the way they explain it.

https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/gallery/mlbs-10-best-hitting-pitchers-042117

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Apr 13, 2021, 12:00 PM

4. Bob Gibson of the Cardinals

was a hell of a hitter in his day. I can remember him being used as a pinch hitter.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Wed Apr 14, 2021, 01:26 PM

6. It's Babe Ruth. Nobody else is even close.

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Response to kairos12 (Reply #6)

Wed Apr 14, 2021, 03:07 PM

7. Ruth was a pitcher and a titan of hitting, but not at the same time

This is Ruth's Baseball Reference page:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/ruthba01.shtml

Please note: during the years Ruth was a full-time pitcher, he was also a pretty average hitter.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 14, 2021, 03:29 PM

8. For 2 seasons he was among the best pitchers and hitters.

1917 and 1918

https://sabr.org/gamesproj/game/may-6-1918-the-babe-makes-his-first-start-as-a-position-player/

snip:
Ruth excelled while doing double duty in 1918, a season cut short due to Americaís entry into World War I. He appeared in 95 games, 20 of them as a pitcher. The 23-year-old finished with a 13-7 won-lost record and a 2.22 ERA. In the other contests, he pinch-hit, played first base, or saw action in the outfield. Babe hit 11 home runs, ďdespite the soggy ball,Ē16 and tied for the league lead with the Athleticsí Tillie Walker. The Red Sox won the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Ruth hit just .200 (1-for-5) and failed to go deep. On the mound, he went 2-0 in two starts with a 1.06 ERA.

He tied for the league lead in HRs despite being primarily a pitcher.

No pitcher ever again will lead the league in HRs, or tie for that matter.

Just another aside about Ruth, he stole home more times than Ricky Henderson.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Apr 15, 2021, 11:55 AM

9. Micah Owings had a career OPS+ of 1.06

And a career OPS of .813. As far as pure pitchers go (ie, those not later put in the outfield), nobody even comes close.

However, his career at-bats only number 191, which is a smallish sample pool. But he turned those at-bats into a .283/.310/.502
average, which is not to sneeze at. Did not exactly set the world on fire as a pitcher, though.

-- Mal

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