We already know what Ohtani has been doing as a hitter. He’s on his own historic pace with the bat, but one of the questions circulating around the media is whether Ohtani should have received the All-Star selection as a pitcher or not. The answer to that question is yes.
While he’s not pitching like a Cy Young candidate, he’s still made plenty of quality starts that have no doubt helped the Angels. He’s literally doing something that we’ve never seen before, and not in the record books since Babe Ruth.
Giving LA Angels’ superstar Shohei Ohtani the opportunity to pitch in the All-Star Game will show everyone that he’s legit.
Shohei Ohtani’s been dominant for the LA Angels on the mound.
Minus the one bad start in New York, he pitched to an ERA under 3.00 in the months of May and June. He’s totaled 87 strikeouts and an ERA+ of 132.
What he’s done on the mound is remarkable considering that normally when he’s starting, he’s also raking in the batting lineup. Major League Baseball needed to show everyone that hasn’t been keeping up with the Angels that he’s the real deal. Now he’ll have that opportunity, should he take the mound during the All-Star Game.
One of the questions that will be raised is how he will get in the game when he’s the designated hitter. Unless he’s actually starting the first inning of the All-Star Game, it might be tricky to try and get him in the game.
“There’s different ways to do it, obviously,” said Angels manager Joe Maddon when speaking with the media. “He could start the game or come in game-in-progress. And how often do you hit him? And don’t forget he’ll be in the Home Run Derby the day before.”
Maddon brings up a great point in that Ohtani could possibly be exhausted from trying to win the Derby the day before he goes out and tries to both hit and pitch.
The bigger issue with this is finding how much Ohtani can endure when it comes to trying to do it all. Clearly, Maddon is also concerned about this, and the Angels will have to be very transparent when it comes to Ohtani’s workload.
The Angels know how much this would mean to him and to the sport overall to see him in the derby and play both positions in the All-Star Game, so the team has every right to be cautious. But it will likely be up to Ohtani himself on how much he can handle, and how honest he is with his health as he tries to do everything this All-Star break.
While there are certainly other pitchers that are also deserving of All-Star nods, having Ohtani prove that he can do both at one of the biggest stages will no doubt help cement him in baseball history. Even if he throws one inning, he has the chance to prove that he can get some of the best hitters out with his dominant stuff. Whether he starts the game or comes in game-in-progress, he should be exciting to watch on the mound as he puts away some of the greatest hitters during the first half of the season.