The Shohei Ohtani store is now open for business. And business is good.
There’s a clear consensus on Ohtani as a pitcher — he’s a potential No. 1 starter with three plus pitches now, with a curveball he will also use occasionally and a changeup he’s largely discarded, with an imperfect delivery and limited history of full health.
Ohtani has hit 100 mph and can get to the upper 90s regularly, but doesn’t always pitch there; more than one scout told me he’d seen Ohtani sit at 91-plus and just reach back for mid-90s when he needed more, and everyone agreed that his fastball plays down a little from its velocity because it’s straight. His slider and splitter are both grade 70 pitches on the 20-80 scale; his curveball is more average, without the tight spin of Yu Darvish’s, to pick one easy comparison.
Ohtani has above-average control but not command, possibly related to how late his arm is relative to his front foot landing, which is also a possible marker for injury risk over time.