When Shohei Ohtani chose Anaheim as his next destination, expectations were sky high. Obviously, his rookie campaign did not go as well as everyone hoped, but the end point was still the same: American League Rookie of the Year.
The only time Shohei Ohtani didn’t dominate during his rookie year was during Spring Training. Remember when we were all worried the Japanese phenom, who’s 27.00 ERA and .125 batting average caused people to wonder if he’d start the year in the minors? Looking back on it, that may be the craziest thing that’s happened in America all year.
As soon as the games began counting, Ohtani took off. He started the season hot, as his first week in the MLB was amongst the best in history. Really think about it.
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Ohtani made his pitching debut on a Sunday, and was stellar against a playoff-caliber Oakland lineup. Then, he homered in his first career game at home. And then again in his second career game at the Big A. Then, in his third game at the Big A, you will never guess what Shohei Ohtani did.
Did you guess he hit another home run?
And his most impressive feat of the week came on the second Sunday. Ohtani took a perfect game into the seventh inning against that same Oakland Athletics team. This was a spring-board for what was an absolutely historical rookie season, one of the best we have ever seen.
And people really thought a defensive liability in New York would beat out Ohtani?
The same Ohtani who had a 3.31 ERA in ten starts? And 11 strikeouts-per-nine-innings? What about 22 home runs and a .285 batting average?
Ohtani winning the ROY Award should not have ever been in doubt (and really wasn’t outside of New York). His season was not perfect, and injuries hampered it tremendously, but even so he deserved every single first place vote, not the 25 of 30 actually had.
When Ohtani is the everyday designated hitter in 2019, he may just be the best in the game at it. When he takes the mound in 2020, Ohtani may just finish the year as a Cy Young candidate. He is the first Angels player to win Rookie of the Year since Mike Trout.
And he is the best player the Angels have had since Trout as well.