Two-way Japanese star Shonei Otani smashes baseball into Tokyo Dome roof – CBSSports.com
The legend of Shohei Otani continues to grow.
Otani, the best baseball player in the world outside MLB, managed to crush a baseball that got lodged in the panels of the Tokyo Dome roof Sunday. Japan was playing the Netherlands in a World Baseball Classic exhibition game. To the action footage:
Alas, the ball was not ruled a home run. It was deemed a ground-rule double. It surely would have carried out of the ballpark had the roof not gotten in the way, however.
Otani is not the first person to hit a ball into the Tokyo Dome roof, but it is exceedingly rare. Hideki Matsui did it way back in 2002, though his was an apparently catchable fly ball, not a long home run. Here’s the video (skip to 2:10 for the fly ball in question):
Otani, 22, is a two-way threat for the Nippon Ham Fighters, who won the 2016 Japan Series. He went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 140 innings in 2016, and also broke his own record for the fastest pitch in Japanese baseball history several times. Otani also hit .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs in 382 plate appearances.
It’s looking increasing unlikely the Fighters will post Otani for MLB teams this offseason. Given the current posting system, which is more of a true free agency that allows the player to negotiate with multiple teams, the club that agrees to let Otani pitch and hit could be the one that gets him. That assumes the posting system doesn’t change before he is actually posted, of course.
Japan beat the Netherlands 12-10 in Sunday’s game. They went 3-1 in a four-game exhibition series against the Netherlands and Mexico.