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S.Ohtani: The signs for our #1 pitcher tonight to finally breakout are starting to come together. At first glance, you must think I'm nuts saying Ohtani hasn't broken out yet considering the MVP frontrunner, but in reality, there is still a ton of meat on the bone for Ohtani's MVP campaign. Yes, we're all well aware of what he's doing in the league right now; pitching & hitting at an elite level is unprecedented. Even so, Ohtani still has room for improvement on the mound.
Sure, he already boasts an elite K%, xBA, & xSLG (All are top 10% marks), but what's holding him back the most is his control (17.1 BB%) which sits in the bottom 3% of the league. However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel here & that's why I'm saying Ohtani could be on the verge of a total breakout. Over his last two starts, he owns a K: BB ratio of 15:3 batters across 11 2/3 IP. The biggest reason for Ohtani's recent success? It appears he's begun to trust his nastiest pitch a lot more, the Split Finger. Ohtani is now throwing his Split Finger 26% of the time in May compared to just 17% in April. What's so good about Ohtani's Split Finger? It generates groundballs at a 72.73%(!) clip & has a Whiff Rate near 40%. Ohtani has a tough test tonight against a talented Oakland lineup. Still, I'm willing to take my chances on the most talented pitcher on the slate, given the limited options on this particular night.