It could be a while before we see Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Otani in MLB. The new collective bargaining agreement has strict caps on international free agent spending for players under 25, which should be a deterrent for the 22-year-old Otani—though his current team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, has discussed the possibility of posting him for MLB teams after next season anyway. (And it’s possible that a workaround could be developed for Otani to get the money he deserves.)
But who cares about when we’ll get to see Otani face major-league pitching when we can watch Otani face himself? On a show hosted by a Japanese boy band, Otani used virtual reality to give it a try.
Of course, it’s really hard for anyone to get a hit off Otani, who posted a 1.86 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP last year, winning the award for Japanese baseball’s best pitcher. But if anyone has a shot, it would be... Otani, who hit .322/.416/.588 last year, winning the award for Japanese baseball’s best DH. Turns out that even he has a hard time with himself.
The “500" shown on the screen at the end is 500 yen, the paltry salary Otani would make as a hitter if he could only face himself. Ouch. (Conversely, way to go. Works both ways!)
Hat-tip and translation help, Kazuto Yamazaki.