So the LA Angels sign Shohei Ohtani, what happens now.

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani
TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 13: Pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani /

The LA Angels have won the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes.  For those of you who don’t know Ohtani he is a 23-year old Japanese outfielder/pitcher that people are calling a Japanese Babe Ruth. Pretty lofty expectations come with this label.

So the question becomes, now that the LA Angels have won the right to Shohei Ohtani what are they going to do with him.  Ohtani is an excellent pitcher, but he also can play the field and he can hit for power.  In the last two seasons for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Ohtani hit 30 homers in 525 at bats driving in 98 runs with a .328 batting average as well as a .411 OBP.

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In addition as a pitcher Ohtani is 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA with a 1.076 WHIP with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings.  So we will see if Ohtani can produce numbers similar to this here in Major League Baseball.  There have been many Japanese players who have come to the United States from Japan with loads of hype and not been able to replicate those numbers in the majors.

Ichiro Suzuki has arguably been the best Japanese born player to play in the majors.  He recorded more than 3,000 hits (3,080) with a career .312 batting average and .355 OBP.  Not to mention 509 stolen bases.  Hideki Matsui, Hideo Nomo, Yu Darvish, and Masahiro Tanaka have also had stellar MLB careers over the past 15-20 years will Ohtani be a future hall of famer like Ichiro or will he be just another good player who performs solidly here in the U.S. Or will Ohtani be one of the many Japanese busts that have littered the majors in past 20 years as well. Guys like Kaz Ishii, Shingo Takatsu, or Kosuke Fukudome all of who lasted three seasons or less.

So with the wide range of successes and failures of Japanese born players what can we expect from Shonei Ohtani?  With all the hype it will be tough for Ohtani to live up to the hype of being the Babe Ruth of Japanese baseball.  Ohtani I believe will be a standout player for the Angels.  Will he be the savior of the team and help lead them to the promiseland of the World Series? Maybe.

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The signing of Ohtani definitely improves the Angels especially as a pitching staff.  However, the Angels still have holes to fill with second and third base being the top priorities now that they have Ohtani and previously signed Justin Upton to strengthen the outfield and line-up.

There is talk of the Angels going to a 6-man rotation to allow Ohtani a chance to play in the field more often and be in the line-up.  The issue then becomes where does Ohtani fit in on the fielding side. If the Angels can teach him to play third base or second base that would be ideal, but that might be a stretch.  If not he could be a fourth outfielder, DH, and maybe play some first base.

The main problem lies in the fact that Albert Pujols is really only serviceable as a DH.  Pujols can play first base on a limited basis.  So the Angels need to find a role for Ohtani to get the most out of him. We will see what Billy Eppler and Mike Scioscia decide to do.

Next: Shonei Ohtani comes to town

For now this one of the biggest things to happen to the Angels franchise other than winning the World Series.  What is ironic about the signing is it occurred on the same day as the Albert Pujols signing six years ago.   Hopefully the Angels will be better for it all.  For you as Angel fans sit back and enjoy the newest Angel as hopefully along with superstar Mike Trout and Justin Upton will lead the Angels back to the playoffs.  One can only hope.