Shohei Ohtani has been a breath of fresh air breathing life into Angel Stadium this season. Despite missing about half the season as a pitcher, Ohtani has brought some excitement to the team.
Shohei Ohtani started the season as the great unknown for the Angels. Although Ohtani came highly touted by most. baseball scouts his poor Spring Training made many question whether or not he was ready to perform at the Major League level. However when the season started Ohtani shot up like a rocket ship.
Ohtani’s first start was very good and from that point on every time he took the mound their was a buzz that was only matched by his 100 MPH + fastball. Ohtani racked up K’s left and right and posted a 4-1 record with a 3.19 ERA striking out 61 batters in 49 innings.
At the plate Ohtani proved worthy of being in the majors hitting six homers and driving in 20 runs in the first two months of the season with a .305 batting average. Then Ohtani went down with an arm injury and missed the next month of the season before returning as a designated hitter.
Since coming back Ohtani has continued to hit well and on Saturday night he hit his 20th home run of the season and now his numbers are pretty strong hitting 20 homers with 55 runs batted in and a .290 batting average. If Ohtani had been able to play all season his numbers would be even better.
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So the question becomes is Ohtani worthy of the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2018? The answer I believe is a resounding YES!!! Ohtani has definitely been the most exciting rookie in baseball with his ability to both pitch the ball over 100 miles per hour and also hit the ball over 430 feet which he has done multiple times this season.
Some players that are considered to be front runners beside Ohtani is Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Ohtani’s numbers are comparable to Torres in home runs, batting average, and RBIs.
Torres has 23 homers compared to Ohtani’s 20 HRs and Torres has 71 RBIs compared to Ohtani’s 55. The difference is Torres has over 100 more at-bats. Ohtani is hitting .290 compared to .278 for Torres.
Andujar on the otherhand has very good numbers and may be tough for Ohtani to overtake, but again he has almost 250 more at-bats. Andujar has 24 homers and 83 runs batted in with a .298 batting average. So the question then becomes do you strictly look at stats regardless of number of at-bats, Or do you look at the impact the player has made on his team?
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In my opinion the impact Ohtani has made for the Angels this year and the buzz he has created throughout baseball far exceeds the statistical difference between him and Andujar and Torres. This is not just a hometown opinion, but it is based on what many people are saying throughout all MLB. Shohei Ohtani has definitely made a tremendous impact and deserves to be recognized with the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
We will see what opinion wins out in the end, but if I was voting I would cast my lot for Shohei Ohtani for Rookie of the Year every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Yes, a Shohei Sunday!