Shohei Otani has lived up to the hype. Just as Bryce Harper in MLB and LeBron James in the NBA, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters star pitcher/DH not only entered the professional ranks to outsized expectations, he actually met them.

He's every bit the prodigious talent on the mound he was advertised to be in high school and has ended up perhaps better than excepted as a hitter. The Japanese baseball world was promised a two-way player and someone who could challenge the conventional way of thinking. In his five seasons, that is what Otani has become.

"There are a lot who get hyped early but never quite make it, or have solid careers," one MLB scout told The Japan Times. "But he has been hyped since he was young and has lived up to expectations on the mound and with the bat when he's been healthy. It's been something to watch him grow and develop and actually turn into what the hype has made him out to be."