It could soon be Shohei Time again as AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani is moving closer to a return from Tommy John Surgery.
No Shohei Ohtani will not be returning to the mound for the LA Angels in 2019, but his bat will be in the lineup soon. Ohtani is in the last stage of his rehab taking live BP and he is hoping to be back by the end of the month, but no timetable has been set yet for him to return to the Angels.
When Ohtani returns hopefully he can infuse some life into the Angels. Recently the team has been able to hit, averaging five runs per game in the last six games, but the pitching has failed them giving up an average of 7.3 runs per game during that span.
While Ohtani can’t pitch he can give the Angels a player to protect Mike Trout and provide so much needed pop in the middle of the Angels line-up. Hopefully this will help take some pressure off guys like Zack Cozart and Kole Calhoun.
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Cozart is batting .096 and Calhoun is hitting .183 so far this season. Right now only David Fletcher, Mike Trout, Brian Goodwin, and Jonathan Lucroy are hitting above .260.
For the Angels offense to click on a more consistent basis Cozart and Calhoun need to improve as does Albert Pujols who is hitting just .224.
More importantly the Angels starting rotation needs to improve greatly. With no starter having more than one victory and the best ERA by a starter is 4.15 by Felix Pena. Tyler Skaggs has a 4.20 ERA, Trevor Cahill has a 4.50 ERA which are all respectable, but by no means good. Matt Harvey has a 9.64 ERA and Chris Stratton has a 7.00 ERA.
Overall the Angel starting pitchers have a 5.76 ERA in 100 innings of work so far this season. The Angels bullpen has had a little more success posting a 3.33 ERA in 80 innings of work. The Angels bullpen is averaging 4 innings of work per game, while Angel starters are averaging five innings per outing.
These numbers will have to improve for the Angels to have any chance of competing in the new and improved AL West. Hopefully the Angels will get Tyler Skaggs back in the next week and then Andrew Heaney by the middle of May which should help the team and the starting rotation improve.
There are many issues with this Angels team so far this season, but getting Shohei Ohtani will fill one big hole in the Angels line-up. When Justin Upton returns in late May the Angels will hopefully still be in the race and will be fully healthy.