The two-way MLB career of Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani is off to a strong start, as he not only won his first game on the mound, but also hit a home run in his first home at-bat with the Los Angeles Angels.

Shohei Ohtani, LA Angels
Shohei Ohtani salutes Angels fans after hitting a three-run home run in his first at-bat against the Cleveland Indians. (Image: Paul Rodriguez/Pasadena Star News)

Ohtanis bid to become the first major league player to take on a full-time role as both a starting pitcher and a designated hitter faced skepticism after he struggled in spring training. But one week into the regular season, it’s been a different story, as the 23-year-old has impressed on both the mound and in the batters box so far.

Dazzling Mound Debut

Ohtani made his pitching debut on Sunday against the Oakland A’s. Though he did give up a three-run homer to Matt Chapman, that was the only blemish on the day for the Angels starter. He would go on to pitch six innings, giving up just those three runs and striking out six to record the win in Los Angeles 7-4 victory.

Ohtani passed the eye test according to most observers, throwing close to 100 mph on his fastball and consistently making batters swing and miss.

Outside of maybe one stretch of three hitters in the second inning, thats about as well as you could pitch, Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters after the game. Shohei has shown great poise in everything hes done – the way hes practiced, the adjustments hes made at the plate when hes swinging the bat. I think thats going to be one of his strengths moving on.

Batter Up!

Despite Ohtani’s preseason struggles, most pundits remained confident that he would find success on the mound, where his skills are already polished. There was more concern about his ability to contribute as a hitter.

While the 6-foot-4 leftie has tremendous raw power and speed on the bases — and might be one of the best athletes in the league — Ohtanis ability to make contact against major league pitching was a lingering question. In his first start as a DH, he went 1-5 with just a single.

But in his second game as a DH, he was able to make a much bigger impact. Tuesday night against the Cleveland Indians, Ohtani homered in his first at bat in front of the home crowd in Los Angeles, part of a 13-2 win for the Angels.

It was part of a 3-4 day for the two-way star.

Shohei put on a display of the type of talent he has tonight, Scioscia said after the game. He showed the power. He showed the ability to just square up a baseball, and he had a great night for us.

Legend in the Making?

According to STATS LLC, Ohtani is the first player to win a game as a starting pitcher, then homer as a non-pitcher in his next game since Babe Ruth accomplished the feat in 1921.

The reception he received from fans and teammates made it official that the Angels were ready to welcome this new and unique hero in their midst.

But the Angels will need a big season from Ohtani if they plan to compete for the American League West crown. The Houston Astros are an overwhelming favorite to win the division, with William Hill listing the defending World Series champions at 3/10 odds.

Los Angeles is second choice at 5/1, with the team expected to be in contention for one of the AL wild card spots.