Shohei Othani’s Sprinting Power

Everyone in the world knows that Shohai Othani is powerful. Hitting massive bombs and throwing triple-digit fastballs makes it obvious that this guy can transfer more power to baseball than anyone else in the world. His formula to create power, kinetic energy, in this case, is better than anyone else.

His ability to make the ball go 100 mph or more both throwing and hitting makes it safe to say that he has mastered the art and science of producing rotational power.

Today I wanted to focus on the power he produces in a linear fashion. It’s amazing to watch him sprinting around the bases. Here’s a 4 min long video of Ohtani’s sprinting ability. Statcast has his sprint speed at the elite level of 30 feet per second (20.5 mph). That’s fast but it doesn’t give us an idea of just how powerful he is when he’s sprinting.

Rotational power for baseball is always measured in miles per hour. This is actually just a velocity and not technically power since the mass of the object isn’t taken into consideration. Since the mass of a 5 oz baseball is constant up until we reach the speed of light we don’t have to factor it in.

Sprinting is different. Everyone’s weight is going to differ so we need to factor it into our equation. This is why we need something that like the kinetic energy formula to give us an idea of how much power Ohtani can produce running as fast as is and weighing as much as he does.

Let’s look at his speed as he legs out this infield hit in the WBC final when he hit a ground ball to one of the very few guys in the league that are faster than him, Trea Turner at 31.2 ft/sec.

To give you an idea of how powerful Ohtani is when he’s running I compared him to the speedy Trea Turner.

Here’s a chart that calculates their Kinetic Energy by figuring out their velocity in meters per second and body weight in kilograms.

Ohtani is producing a ton of Power. There’s a difference of 159.2 Joules (unit of power) between these two. That difference would be felt if you were standing on top of first base and got run over by each of these elite athletes going all out. Ohtani, carrying 210lbs at 20.45 mph, would hurt that much more than Turner’s 185lbs going slightly faster at 21.3 mph.

These power numbers are off the charts. Here is how Ohtani would look on my Pitcher’s Physical Profile system with that much sprinting power

He is way off the charts. His score for the 30-yard dash power (lower right-hand corner) just dives off the chart that I’ve put together. I knew that he’d be at the top level but not by this much.

But then I remembered that the 30ft/sec is his peak speed. He wasn’t going that fast out of the box. He had to accelerate up to that speed. We typically measure average speed rather than peak. Measuring the average speed is a lot easier if you don’t have laser timers to take split times. All we need to know is how long it took him to go from point A to point B.

For this, we will use his home-to-first times, the distance (90ft/30 yards), and their body weight.

Here he is going home to first in 4.07 sec beating out a ground ball to the first baseman.

Obviously, Ohtani has an advantage in this type of sprint being a lefty. Nevertheless, it is really impressive. The chart below shows the exact numbers used to calculate their power.

These numbers from Ohtani are more in line with what I have seen in the past and have been used as a reference range in my pitcher’s physical profile system.

He’s still almost off the chart which is what you’d expect from the best baseball athlete in the world.

If you are looking at how this information can be used to help you or your pitchers then I would say that:

1 – sprinting is important: even if you don’t run the bases it is an amazing training tool

2 – mass is important: try to carry as much useful mass as possible.

So simply put, be sure that you are doing some sprints as part of your training and eat enough food to keep the needle moving. I would suggest using this same equation to track your progress with a 30-yard dash. Here’s the formula in more detail.

And this is how I calculate Ohtani’s average power using this home-to-first speed

Watching your power output is great because you might gain weight but not improve your sprint time. If you only looked at the speed you would be disappointed in your lack of progress. But this formula will show that you did in fact improve because you are moving more mass at that same speed.

If you want to see how you score in the 30-yard dash along with about 10 more metrics all associated with throwing velocity check out my pitchers profile system.

I’ll leave you with one more feat of athletic ability from Ohtan turning a broken bat groundball up the middle into a double


Graeme Lehman

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