The Japanese phenom who has nicknamed himself as the Babe Ruth of Japan with his ability to both hit and pitch at a high level has signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
This news dropped after the Seattle Mariners traded for the Marlins Dee Gordon in a deal that sent over $1 million in international slot money on Thursday. This move prepared the Mariners to have the largest offer to give Ohtani but Ohtani decided to sign with the Angels.
Although it is a little disappointing to see Ohtani sign with the Angels, when teams like the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants were all in the running for his services, it will be cool to see him play with arguably the best player in all of baseball Mike Trout.
Now what can we expect from this Japanese star and how do I see him fitting in on an everyday MLB roster? It’s hard to know exactly how the Angels plan to use Ohtani and if he will end up being a dual type player on a 25-man roster.
If he ends up attempting to both hit and pitch, I can’t see this being something that he is able to continue throughout his entire career. Although he may have been successful at in Japan, baseball in the states is a much different style of game. Also, Japanese players that come over to the states historically have either been a position player or pitcher. Ohtani is the first to ever attempt to try and be both a hitter and pitcher. I can’t see this as something that he will succeed at.
If he decides to focus on being just a hitter or a pitcher, I have a feeling that the Angels might try and make him become a pitcher. Angels are in desperate need of starting pitching and really need an ace to put them in a position where they may be able to compete for a postseason spot. In 5 seasons in the Japan Pacific League, Ohtani finished with a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and an impressive 624 strikeouts over 543 innings. With a strikeout per nine of 10.3, these numbers definitely show that he can dominate a lineup.
Although I hope that Ohtani is successful in MLB and that he is able to win over the baseball community in the states, it will be a wait and see to see how it will go for him. Based off the stories from various reports that I have read and listened to on various baseball podcasts, Ohtani really wants to be as loved in the United States as he was loved while in Japan. This first season will really be telling on how the transition goes for him and if he will be able to make a full career out of playing in MLB.
As a complete side note to Ohtani, to the Boston Red Sox organization, best of luck trying to match the trade that the Yankees just made to get Giancarlo Stanton. I woke up to the news this morning and I was in complete disbelief. Although this is the worst case scenario that could have happened for a Red Sox fan, the evil empire is back in New York and it is safe to say that the Red Sox Yankees rivalry is back for the foreseeable future.
Your move Dave Dombrowski!