Getting His Bat in the Lineup Every Night
We have already extensively detailed just how good Ohtani is on the mound, but he is also incredibly gifted at the plate. Across 266 games played as a hitter, Ohtani has posted an excellent 126 wRC+ (26 percent above average), accruing 4.7 WAR. That is a bat that is needed in the Halos’ lineup every single night.
As of right now, Ohtani’s schedule is a pitching start, then a day off, then three days of hitting, then a day off. Having his bat in the lineup for just half of the games is not great considering the impact he can potentially make as a full-time bat. Closing would allow him to be in the lineup every night (possibly sitting against some southpaws) and would enable him to come into the ninth inning as a pitcher. All the Angels would have to do is rid themselves of the designated hitter which is easy to do considering the pitcher is Ohtani, a capable bat.
If Ohtani could play 130 games per season as a 2.5 WAR type bat and also close out 40 games a season, he would be more valuable to the Angels. If he could throw 100 innings and hit in 80 games, that’s just about as valuable, but the risk attached is far greater given the arm stress.
It’s truly an unconventional idea, but so is Ohtani as a player — in a good way.