Los Angeles Angels Ohtani Shohei (29) is leading a new change in the major leagues.
MLB.com, the official major league media, said on the 11th (Korean time), “The sweeper is the hottest pitch in baseball right now. And Ohtani is playing an active role as a representative of that,” he said, highlighting Ohtani’s sweeper.
The sweeper is a pitch that has recently been newly classified in the major leagues. Similar to a slider, but with more lateral movement. Previously, in the major leagues, the combination of a high fastball with strong vertical movement and a curve with a large drop was popular, but recently, on the contrary, pitchers with strong horizontal movement are attracting attention.
While many pitchers are throwing sweepers, Ohtani is by far the leader. According to MLB.com, “more and more major league pitchers are embracing a slider with more movement than the traditional, tight slider. Ohtani is leading a new wave.”
When it comes to pitches that symbolize Ohtani, the splitter comes to mind. In his debut season, Ohtani’s splitter showed the same power as a harness with a hit rate of 3 0.6 Lee (2 hits in 55 at-bats) and a swing rate of 56.4%. However, rather than actively using the splitter, Ohtani is steadily increasing the proportion of the sweeper. From 2022, the rate of use of sweepers is higher than that of four-seams. The sweeper usage rate this season reached 46.1%. The four-seam is shooting 27.0%.
MLB.com said, “Accounting from last season, Ohtani threw over 1,000 sweepers. Ohtani is the only pitcher who has thrown that many sweepers. Ohtani is also number one in pitch value.”
It was in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) final held in March that Ohtani’s sweeper rose to the surface. In the final, Ohtani faced off with teammate Mike Trout, the best hitter in the major leagues, in the final at-bat for the win. Ohtani, who struck out Trout after a close battle to a full count, used a sweeper with a speed of 87.2 miles per hour (140.3 km).
MLB.com said,메이저놀이터 “There are things you need to know about Ohtani’s sweeper. The movement is top-notch in the league, but the speed is fast. The horizontal movement of Ohtani’s sweepers averages 18 inches (45.7 cm). Remember, home plate is only 17 inches (43.2 cm) wide. Velocity may not seem fast at 84-85 mph (135.2-136.8 km), but it’s quick for a sweeper. The league average velocity for sweepers is 81 to 82 mph (130.4 to 132.0 km). What makes Ohtani Sweeper special is that it shows a lot of movement while maintaining high speed.”