New York sports radio host Craig Carton is a person known to have many hot takes. Who can blame him? Hot takes generate clicks, that's what gets him the jobs he's had and he's not going to stop. Sports media personalities all over the place love to poke fun at the Los Angeles Angels, and with the Angels' struggles to make them eat their words, it becomes absurd at times.
What Shohei Ohtani is doing right now is beyond absurd and has him being talked about by the entire baseball world. In his last 15 games, Ohtani is slashing .446/.543/.1.071 with nine home runs and 20 RBI. As of now, he has a legitimate shot at the AL Triple Crown while having an all-star-caliber season on the mound. The Angels have gone 11-4 in their last 15 games while Ohtani has been on another planet and are eight games over .500 while sitting in sole possession of the second Wild Card spot in the AL.
Ohtani is enjoying what might be his best season right now, but he's been the best player in the game for a couple of years now. What he does nobody else has or will ever do. Apparently, according to Carton, it's his fault that the Angels have failed to make the postseason during his tenure. What he's been doing deserves no credit because the team around him has struggled. That is, of course, absurd.
Shohei Ohtani is obviously not at fault for the LA Angels failure to win
Baseball is a team game. 26 men are on the roster, and on most nights, most are used. This isn't basketball with a nine-man rotation, it's baseball.
No matter how good of a hitter you are, you're only allowed to come up when your spot comes up in the order. You can't put that player in the spotlight constantly like you can with the point guard in basketball or a running back in football. He hits when he's allowed to hit.
What makes Ohtani great is he also pitches. He pitches every sixth day and most of the time is dominant. He doesn't pitch get to pitch every day like Patrick Mahomes gets to play every week.
Has Craig Carton seen the rosters the Angels have surrounded Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout with? Let's look at the 2022 Opening Day lineup.
1. Shohei Ohtani - P
2. Mike Trout - CF
3. Anthony Rendon - 3B
4. Matt Duffy - 2B
5. Jo Adell - LF
6. Jared Walsh - 1B
7. Max Stassi - C
8. Brandon Marsh - RF
9. David Fletcher - SS
What exactly is Ohtani supposed to do with this? The top three is obviously quite good, but both Trout and Rendon missed substantial time last season. Your cleanup hitter is Matt Duffy? Followed by Jo Adell? Are you kidding me?
Three members of this Opening Day lineup started for the Angels in the opener this season, and that's Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon. Jared Walsh is the only other player on the roster right now. Like what're we doing here?
The Angels finished the 2022 season with a 73-89 record. When Ohtani pitched, the team was 16-12. This included seven losses when he allowed two runs or fewer. Carton's going to say it's his fault for allowing two runs in six innings and the team failing to score?
This season, the Angels have actually built a real roster around Ohtani and are currently in a playoff spot. Will they get there? Who knows. The AL is tough, and this team still isn't perfect. However, the first time the Angels have competent depth pieces around Ohtani the team is playing competitive baseball.
You need an entire team to perform in baseball. Ohtani is one player. He can do more than anyone else, that's what makes him the best, but he's still one player. Carton ignoring what he's doing because the Angels started Andrew Velazquez well over 100 times last season is just ignorant and searching for clicks.
I hope Carton is ready to wake up from his slumber and give Ohtani the credit he's always deserved when the Angels make the postseason in 2023.