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Not Another Ohtani Movie

While showing baseball to the future, Shohei Ohtani has been a throwback. His first week in the big leagues included two pitcher wins, involving an almost-perfect game, and three home runs, a feat that was last realized 99 years ago. Comparisons across the century to arguably the most famous two-way player, Babe Ruth, also induce the nostalgia of history. Ohtani’s inauguration to MLB has been historic, penciling his starts into appointment books everywhere, and only needing ten days to do so. He has columnists apologizing for doubting him based on spring training performances, and he has everyone watching.

Ohtani brought the Athletics back home to Angel Stadium to rip through their lineup with the second side of his double-edged sword for 12 strikeouts in seven dazzling innings. His first start on April 1 was capital-G Good, with six strikeouts and three hits in six innings, but he outdid himself Sunday. Maybe the most impressive leg of Ohtani’s success on the rubber has been his splitter, the kind that makes hitters blush. Only Edwin Diaz has a higher swing and miss rate on the pitch, 3.2% higher than Ohtani. Back-to-back Cy Young winner Max Scherzer even trails him in strikeouts and swings and misses, both categories in which Ohtani passed him on Sunday.

Small sample size, small sample size, small sample size. Yes. But Ohtani has already proven the basis of his value plays in the majors. Ohtani lights up the radar gun and his power allowed him to take Corey Kluber, who he also has more strikeouts than, deep. His three home runs put him ahead of phenom former-rookie Aaron Judge. Sure, it is still possible that a career as a two-way players ends up being too much. That’s the beauty of it, though. With Ohtani, the possibilities are endless.

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Today on FanGraphs: The Dodgers Will Probably Be Fine

Hey, Dodgers. You doing okay over there, buddy? You sure you don't need anything? Snacks? A parent or trusted adult? It's just that... well, you have enough losses to put you at the franchise's worst start to a season in the Wild Card era, is all.
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Data Visualization of the Day: Anybody Got a ‘Pen?
I don't have a pen, Rian. Please come prepared to class next time. 

Excerpt from "2018 Ground Rule Doppelgängers, NL Edition" by John LaRue

"The Phillies’ rebuild has been fun to track through the doppelgänger analysis. They’ve gone from a 2016 pairing with the 1989 Braves, then the 1991 Braves last season. The problem last season was that they didn’t have the farm prestige of those early ’90’s Braves. Their farm prestige had improved greatly, but wasn’t on par with what Atlanta developed. Now, they’ve found themselves matching up best with the 2015 Astros — an extremely close match, in fact."

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