Two-way star Shohei Ohtani has continued to prove he can do just about anything on a baseball field now that he’s healthy, and he wowed yet again in Monday night’s 10-3 win over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, smacking a critical two-run double in the seventh inning that had an incredible exit velocity of 119 mph.
Ohtani’s two-run double to right on a 95 mph sinker from Royals right-hander Scott Barlow helped give the Angels a 6-3 lead after Kansas City made it a one-run game with three runs in the previous inning. It wasn’t a homer, but Ohtani got all of it, as it’s currently the hardest hit ball by exit velocity in the Majors this year, per Statcast.
In fact, Ohtani became just the fifth player to ever reach 119 mph off the bat since Statcast was introduced in 2015, joining Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez and Nelson Cruz. Of that group, if it’s limited to only line drives or fly balls that went for hits, he joins only Stanton (nine) and Judge (four) to accomplish the feat. Cruz hit a ground-ball single and Sanchez lined out.
The record for the highest exit velocity ever recorded by Statcast is 122.2 mph by Stanton on a single off Max Fried on Oct. 1, 2017.
It was the seventh extra-base hit of the season for Ohtani, who is off to a hot start offensively. And the two-run double with two outs gave the Angels some much-needed breathing room. He added an RBI double in the ninth and went 3-for-5 on the night. He’s batting .333/.366/.744 in 10 games this season.
Ohtani, though, has been limited to just one start on the mound due to a blister on his right middle finger. He reached as high as 101 mph on the mound that game against the White Sox on April 4 and also smacked a solo homer in the first inning with an exit velocity of 115.2 mph.
Ohtani threw a light bullpen session before Monday’s game against the Royals and the Angels are hopeful he’ll be able to return to the mound by early next week.