The Japanese sporting scene has in the past few years been blessed with Ryuta Otani and Shohei Ohtani. They are brothers who have wowed and brought pride to the Baseball fans and teams, locally and internationally.
Ryuta is the brother of the famous ‘shotime’ who has been widely celebrated as a professional baseball pitcher, designated hitter, and outfielder. Though most people know Otani’s younger brother, it is important to state that he is also a great baseball player as well.
Shohei’s older brother has been more instrumental to the local baseball league in Japan while he took to the international level.
7 Need-To-Know Facts about Ryuta Otani
1. Who is Ryuta Otani?
Ryuta was born on the 20th of March 1988 in Oshu, Japan by parents Toru Otani and Kayoko Otani. His father used to work at a local automobile manufacturing plant. Otani is the second of three kids born to the Otani family. His famous brother is the youngest of the trio and they have an older sister named Yuka Otani.
He attended local schools in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture where he began to engage in sporting activities and aimed at being a professional sportsman. Ryuta attended Hanamaki Higashi High School.
2. His Parents were Sports-people
Ryuta Otani’s mother known as Kayoko was a badminton player who used to play while she was in high school. She even made it to the national level playing the sports and so has the title of ‘national-level badminton player’.
Toru on the other hand passed down his baseball-playing skills to his sons. He was an amateur baseball player who was part of the Japanese Industrial League.
3. His Love for Baseball started in Childhood
As earlier stated, Ryuta’s love for baseball started in his childhood. His father began teaching him and his younger brother how to play the sport early and so he began to practice and train really hard.
Given Toru’s knowledge and skill in the sport, he became his kids’ coach till they grew to professional standards. Ryuta started playing in elementary school and hoped to be a professional from then.
4. His Brother is referred to as ‘The Next Babe Ruth’
Despite being given the same foundation as his older brother, Shohei dreamed bigger. Just like his brother, he began to play baseball in his childhood but went through more rigorous training.
He attended Hanamaki Higashi High School in Iwate Prefecture, three hours from the capital. While there, Shohei showcased his skills when he threw the recorded pitch during the Japanese national high school tournament held at Summer Koshien.
Prior to this, at the age of 18, Ryuta’s younger brother reached 100 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball. His impressive skills and the fact that he could play as both pitcher and hitter while also being an outfielder have put him on a high pedestal.
Choosing to play in the MLB instead of being a local champion in Japan, he earned the title of the next Babe Ruth. Babe was a Japanese baseball player who broke almost all the important records in baseball throughout his professional career.
Shohei is well on his way to achieving this feat as he has already made a name as the greatest thing to happen to baseball in a long time. He is currently the best pitcher in Japan and also the best hitter. He won the award of NPB Pacific League’s Best Pitcher and Best Designated Hitter in 2016.
The next Babe Ruth currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels. He moved to L. A from Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on March 29, 2018.
5. Ryuta Otani Led his Team to the Nationals
Ryuta is part of the Toyota Motor East Japan Inc. baseball team known as Morioka. In 2018, he won his team a ticket to the Tohoku area qualifier’s second round. This was the team’s first time qualifying for the Baseball Tournament in Japan since its inception years ago.
Unlike his younger brother, Otani wanted to become a professional but chose to play in the local leagues. He stuck with playing for local teams in Japan though being good enough to pursue professional heights.
Doubling as a coach and player, Shohei’s older brother has inspired a lot of other players who train with him.
6. What is Ryuta Otani’s Height?
The Morioka left-wing baseball player stands at a height of 1.87 m. His younger brother, the professional MLB player is however taller than him standing at a height of 1.93 m.
Ryuta maybe 6 years older than his brother but he falls shorter in height by 6 inches.
7. Otani Identifies as a Christian
35 year-old Ryuta Otani has stated that he is a Christian by faith. In his birth country, the prevalent religions are Shinto which is the earliest religion there, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
However, the minor movement of Christianity which is one of the newest religions in the area has been accepted as Ryuta’s religious faith.