Should the Angels limit Shohei Ohtani to just hitting?
While there is certainly value to having a locked-in, top of the rotation arm like Shohei Ohtani showed during his rookie campaign in 2018. For a team without a front-line starter, the promise of Ohtani’s return was incalculable entering the season.
However, the reality of what Ohtani has looked like on the mound, both in summer camp and now through two starts, questions what is the smarter thing to do. Do the Angels continue to try and develop him as a two-way star or do they start to look at him as a hitter only?
On the two-way side of the coin, it is hard to argue with the potential on the mound. We even caught glimpses of that during the first inning on Sunday. However, as someone who has already undergone Tommy John surgery and is again experiencing discomfort in the joint, the risk may outweigh the reward.
As a hitter, Ohtani has shown again his power potential and looked to be ready to click at the plate. However, his forced off-days before and after his turn in the rotation limits his ability to develop consistency and removes that threat from the line-up twice a week. Coupled with the potential of injury that could remove him hitting for a more considerable amount of time.
The Angels simply need to ask themselves where Ohtani presents the most value to the team. Given the hesitation of the team in him making 30 starts over a full season, his value as a pitcher will always be limited.
The choice is a great problem to have for the Angels, but it is a choice they will have to make eventually for both the club and Ohtani.