After questions of whether or not he will be used as a two-way player this season, it appears we can expect Shohei Ohtani in the batter’s box and on the mound for the Angels in 2021.
Pitchers and catchers officially reported to spring training on Tuesday, and Angels manager Joe Maddon explained there would not be any limitations on Ohtani this spring.
"“Right now, I’m hearing full-go,” Maddon said. “The reports I’ve been getting are really good, honestly really good. So I’m eager to watch this just like everybody else. If we get Shohei in the right direction, that would be a pretty good offseason acquisition right there. We’ve seen what he’s capable of doing.”"
Maddon also went on to say he does not want to implement any ‘Shohei-rules’. Meaning he wants Ohtani to prepare like the baseball player he always has been. Maddon and his coaching staff will keep a close eye on Ohtani throughout camp and evaluate as they go along instead of making predisposed assumptions.
The 26-year old and the Angels recently agreed on a two-year, $8.5 million extension to avoid arbitration. Ohtani struggled on both sides of the ball last summer, but the two-way star has unlimited potential if healthy.
Shohei Ohtani Career Statistics (3 seasons):
- Batting: (254 games) .269/.340/.503 47 HR 147 RBI
- Pitching: (12 starts) 53.1 IP 4.39 ERA 1.331 WHIP
Those numbers are a bit skewed due to his struggles in two starts last season. Ohtani posted a 3.31 ERA and 1.161 WHIP in ten starts during the 2018 season. The AL Rookie of the Year also posted a .285/.361/.564 line with 22 home runs in 104 games that same season.
The biggest concern with Ohtani comes with injury risk. The 162-game season is a physical and mental grind for any player. When you factor in being used as a hitter and pitcher consistently, it could take its toll.
Angels manager Joe Maddon will not put any limitations on Shohei Ohtani as a two-way player this spring.
For this to work out well, I think it will take Maddon finding a way to make the most out of his two-way star without overusing him. Coming off a grade 1-2 forearm strain, it appears Ohtani’s stuff on the mound looks good as ever.
"“He was showing velocity numbers, and it’s hard to show 95-plus in a workout,” Maddon said. “He looked magnificent. The way the arm was working. The (velocity) numbers were high. Normally you get a workout or a (bullpen session), a guy is working on things, and you get a nice number, but you’re not going to get a big number. These numbers are big.”"
The encouraging signs from Ohtani could result in a rotation spot this season. Maddon has previously spoken on a six-man rotation, and if there are struggles with any of the five starters, I think Ohtani will be used more as the season progresses.
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If he can manage to stay healthy during a full season, there is no telling how much of an impact Ohtani can have for the Angels this season.