Shohei Ohtani: Second Impression

Shohei Ohtani: Second Impression

During the off-season a lot of news was circulated around young phenom Shohei Ohtani, the young two-way player from Japan. Ohtani sparked quite an interest in Major League organizations after he put up serious numbers across 5 professional seasons.

On one side of his game he posted a .286/.358/.500 stat line, accumulating 296 hits, 48 home runs, and 166 RBI’s. However, the 23-year-old did post 316 strikeouts in 1,035 at-bats. Essentially, Ohtani struck out during 31% of his at-bats.

On the other side, the Ham Fighters ace hurled 543.0 innings, recording a 2.52 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 10.3 strikeouts per 9-innings. His overall record during his five year career was 42-15, which looked promising to many teams.

As the off-season came to a close, and teams sent him their resume (yes, teams sent HIM their resume and how they planned to use him), the ‘phenom’ ultimately decided that the Los Angeles Angels would be his landing spot for the 2018 season. But was he worth it?

When asked before spring training if Ohtani would be on the Major League roster at the start of the season, Angels manager Mike Scioscia chuckled at the notion of another option. Just recently he was asked the same question and his response was a little bit different. “We’re not going to get into roster decisions. . . I can only say that Shohei’s talent is real.”

During spring training, the right-hander has thrown 2.2 innings, while earning a 27.00 ERA, 4.125 WHIP and 10.1 home runs per 9-innings pitched. In two games he has allowed 9 hits and 3 home runs, while walking 3 batters and hitting 1. Control has also been an issue, as he has also thrown a wild pitch in addition to the walks.

In a non-counting game, the rookie also threw 3 innings against the Tijuana Toros of Mexico, during which he gave up 6 runs, 5 hits, and threw 2 wild pitches, while hitting 2 batters.

Ohtani showed some bounce-back on March 2nd during a ‘B’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers, where he struck out 8 and only gave up 2 runs, throwing 2 ⅔ innings.

These stats are not really promising for the young pitcher, or the Angels as they look to make a run at the pennant this coming season.

“We’re looking at the process. We’re looking at, on the pitching end, his pitch execution. If that’s a little bit off is it a mechanical issue, is it just a release point issue. Spin rates, things like this that we know Shohei is capable of. That’s how we’re measuring him, and he’s measuring where we would expect him to be. So we’re not measuring him on ERA. We’re not measuring him on how many guys he strikes out. There’s different components of the lens we’re looking at and it’s all about that process.” stated Scioscia, when asked if Ohtani would be on the 25-man roster, regardless of his spring numbers.

Hopefully for Angels fans, the Oshu, Japan native can figure it out. If not, maybe some time in the minors to figure out his mechanics might not be a bad idea.


Picture Credit: LATimes.Com; SportsNet.CA

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