Potentially huge news broke in the baseball world late on Tuesday night, as multiple Japanese outlets reported that two-way sensation Shohei Otani will be posted this winter and play in the majors in 2018.

Otani, 23, is considered the best current non-MLB player in the world, and is viewed as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” for his elite talents as a pitcher and his ability to crank massive dingers as a left-handed hitting outfielder.

Last season with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Otani put together a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts over 140 innings on the mound, and a .322/.416/.588 slash line with 22 homers at the dish. The assumption is that Otani would like to be both a position player and pitcher on a team in the majors, but it’s unknown what teams — if any — would be willing to let this happen (and may require an owner supremely interested in selling tickets).

Far and away the main reason any team will want Otani is because of his ridiculous abilities as a pitcher. The 6’3″ right-hander has a fastball that can touch 102 mph, to go with nasty secondary pitches.

He actually showed off these skills on Tuesday in Japan, as you can see with these videos featuring a 101.3 mph fastball and a wipeout slider:

It’s surprising that Otani would want to come to the majors this winter, as he’s leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table due to MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement preventing players under 25 years old from being true free agents. The maximum amount of money Otani would be able to receive this winter is $10.1 million, whereas he would’ve likely gotten a deal at $200+ million as a true free agent in two years.

It’s an incredibly unique situation, and Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan explained more in a series of tweets (and went more in-depth with his article on the news):

There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t love to acquire a 23-year-old potential ace, and it will be very interesting to see which team is lucky enough to get him this winter. And then it will be interesting to see if that team allows him to be a position player as well.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.