Sport Science finally made its return to the baseball diamond, and there is no more fitting player on the planet to break down than Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani. The 27-year-old is doing things that haven’t been seen in Major League Baseball since at least Babe Ruth, so when ESPN asked, we couldn’t resist taking a deep dive into what makes Ohtani so special.
One of the biggest challenges with this Sport Science was directly related to Ohtani’s one-of-a-kind skillset as a baseball player. He is dominant as a hitter, a pitcher, and a baserunner, which meant we had to figure out ways to visualize, contextualize, and explain his talent in all facets of the game. This meant a lot of tracking graphics, helping to follow the baseball as it left the bat or his hand. It also required two separate 3D models to break down his mechanics on the mound and at the plate. We needed to be able to slow down and magnify the subtle parts of Ohtani’s movements that have allowed him to put together such an incredible season.
Baseball already has its own, somewhat technical terminology, and when you add science into the mix, it can all be a bit difficult to follow. So we were sure to slow down the action when possible, and to bring in comparisons from other teams and sports to give the audience more context. Plus, we got the legendary Tim Kurkjan to do the voice, which added another special component into the mix.
Whether it’s the movement on his splitter, or the launch angle on his home-runs, everything Shohei Ohtani does is special. We’re just glad we could do our part in telling the story of such a historic moment in baseball.