LA Angels 2021 spring training guide: predicting the starting rotation

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Shohei Ohtani RHP

If all goes well this spring, Shohei Ohtani will be utilized as a two-way player for the Angels in 2021.

On Wednesday, Maddon explained Ohtani would have no limitations in his preparation as a hitter and pitcher for this season. Still, the Halos coaching staff will keep a close eye on Ohtani and evaluate his situation as spring training progresses.

If he can stay healthy, Shohei Ohtani will be used as a starter for the Angels in 2021.

Ohtani threw a 27-pitch bullpen session on Thursday, with his velocity maxing out at 90 mph. This caused some to overreact, but it is not a big deal for a pitcher’s first bullpen session of the spring.

If this is the case a week before Opening Day, I think it is a cause for concern.

Following his session, Ohtani reiterated he feels great and is not worried about his velocity right now.

"“I’m not worried at all,” Ohtani said. “This is my first bullpen wearing a uniform this year, so I’m not too worried about the velo. I’ve been hitting all offseason and I think my swing is feeling really good right now. My body is feeling good. I think we’re in a good spot hitting-wise.”"

The Angels are hoping Ohtani can return to his 2018 Rookie of the Year form on the mound this season.

Shohei Ohtani Career Pitching Statistics (3 seasons):

  • 2018: (10 starts) (4-2, 3.31 ERA) 51.2 IP 1.161 WHIP 11 K/9 AL Rookie of the Year
  • 2019: Did Not Pitch
  • 2020: (2 starts) (0-1) 1.2 IP 7 ER 3 H 8 BB 3 SO

Managing Ohtani will be one of the toughest challenges Maddon will have in his career, due to his generational type of talent.

He can’t be overused to risk another injury, but at the same time, it would be a waste for the Angels not to take advantage of their two-way star.

If he can stay healthy, I think we can expect Maddon to implement some form of a six-man rotation with Ohtani involved.