Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Shohei Ohtani smashes MLB’s hardest-hit ball of season with 118.7 mph home run in Dodgers’ win vs. Nationals

Los Angeles Dodgers current designated hitter and future ace Shohei Ohtani is in part famous for hitting home runs and typically hitting them very hard. True to form, Ohtani on Tuesday night against the Nationals in D.C. launched a late homer that turned out to be the hardest-hit ball of the 2024 season thus far. 

Here’s a look, in stunning technicolor: 

Yes, that blast off a 1-0 splitter from Matt Barnes traveled 450 feet, which is impressive enough. What’s even more impressive is that it left the bat at 118.7 mph, which, as noted, makes it the hardest-hit ball of the current season. Prior to that bit of thunder, Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres and Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees shared top honors with batted balls of 116.7 mph. 

Ohtani’s feat, of course, merits the “alternative angle” treatment: 

According to the inestimable Sarah Langs, that shot by Ohtani is … 

  • The hardest-hit ball by a Dodger in the Statcast ERA (i.e., since at least 2015); 
  • The hardest-hit home run of Ohtani’s MLB career;
  • And tied for the 12th-hardest hit ball of the Statcast era, including the postseason. 

Best of all for Ohtani’s greater purposes, the Dodger prevailed 4-1 over the Nats. 

Ohtani, who inked a record $700 million free-agent pact with the Dodgers this past winter, isn’t pitching in 2024 as he recovers from elbow surgery. He is, quite obviously, still hitting, and, also quite obviously, hitting well. As of that Tuesday night explosion off the bat, Ohtani in 2024 is slashing .364 AVG/.430 OBP/.612 SLG with six home runs, including one that, once more with feeling, left the bat at almost 119 mph. 

Not surprisingly, Ohtani is fully accustomed to hitting the ball hard. Coming into Tuesday’s game, Ohtani was averaging a career-best 95.0 mph off the bat, which puts him in the top 2.0% of the league. As well, his hard-hit rate of 61% puts him in the 99th percentile among MLB hitters. 

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