LA Angels young phenom Shohei Ohtani will make his second start in an exhibition game on Friday as he will face the Colorado Rockies. The only other Cactus League start Ohtani made was against the Brewers on Saturday, February 24th.
In that game Shohei Ohtani struggled its his control walking two batters in 1.1 innings of work. Since then Ohtani has started in a “B” league game and an exhibition against a team from Mexico. Ohtani had mixed results in the two games and he is hoping to turn it around in Friday’s start.
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Now this is Spring Training and you can’t put too much stock in the numbers that pitchers and hitters produce during the Spring. However, since this is the first most everyone has seen Shohei Ohtani and all the hype surrounding him being the first legitimate two-way player in years, many people are doing just that. They are taking Ohtani’s early struggles and are being quick to criticize him and saying he could be a bust, and so on.
So with this start the scrutiny of Shohei Ohtani will either increase or die down depending on his performance, which is not entirely fair, but it is the nature of our society to want to find fault with people and not give them a chance to rise above it. Thankfully the Angels management and coaches are not from this school of thought and seem willing to be patient with their potential star.
How long will this patience last? My belief is that the Angels have made the investment in Ohtani and will give him every opportunity to be successful. Does that mean that if he continues to struggle the rest of the Spring they will still give him a roster spot? The answer I believe is a resounding, yes.
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The idea of going with a six-man rotation that the Angels are toying with is in large part to help foster early success for Ohtani as it is what he has been used to in Japan.
So to all you naysayers, give the kid a chance, he is only 23 years old and he has tremendous talent, he just has to make the adjustment to the American game both on the mound and at the plate.
Good Luck Shohei, I’m rooting for you!