Dave Roberts Guides Shohei Ohtani Towards Enhanced Plate Discipline

Shohei Ohtani's approach at bat sets new standards.

by Nouman Rasool
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Dave Roberts Guides Shohei Ohtani Towards Enhanced Plate Discipline
© Harry How/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is working diligently to enhance the batting prowess of Shohei Ohtani, especially with runners in scoring position. Last week, Roberts initiated a pivotal discussion with the two-time AL MVP, focusing on refining Ohtani's command over the strike zone.

Observing Ohtani's recent at-bats, Roberts noted, "I thought he was expanding a bit more than he needed to. So, I just wanted to have a conversation with him." This proactive approach comes at a crucial time, aiming to leverage Ohtani's already formidable skills by instilling greater discipline at the plate.

Ohtani, who recently hit his 176th home run, now holds the record for the most Major League Baseball homers by a Japanese-born player, surpassing Hideki Matsui. As of Tuesday night's game in Washington, Ohtani leads the majors with a .368 batting average, alongside topping the charts in hits (35), doubles (11), and total bases (63).

Ohtani's Game-Changing Swing

Roberts emphasized the impact of Ohtani's swing, stating, "Any time he swings the bat, he can change the game, and now being even more disciplined in the strike zone just makes him more scary." This strategy is aimed not only at improving Ohtani’s individual performance but also at enhancing the Dodgers’ offensive threat.

In December, Ohtani made a high-profile move from the Los Angeles Angels to the Dodgers, signing a record-breaking 10-year, $700 million contract. Despite undergoing elbow surgery in September, which sidelined his pitching abilities for the season, Ohtani's transition to the Dodgers has been smooth.

He has rapidly acclimated to his new environment, forging strong bonds with teammates and coaches alike. Roberts praised Ohtani's integration into the team, saying, "He is doing a great job with everyone. The hitting coaches are kind of building a really good relationship and trust.

I see him more [now]. Before, you sort of just see him when he gets in the batter's box. So, he's around a lot more, which is a good thing, too." As Ohtani continues to adapt and refine his technique under the guidance of Roberts and his coaching team, the Dodgers look forward to the elevated game dynamics he brings to the plate.

With an enhanced focus on discipline, Ohtani's ability to influence game outcomes is expected to rise, marking another chapter in his illustrious MLB career.

Shohei Ohtani
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