Look at him field the fuck out of those slow rollers! After all the hype, and all the speculation about where he’d end up, Shohei Ohtani arrived at Angels camp today. The biggest development to come out of his arrival would be Angels manager Mike Scioscia revealing that Ohtani will not work out in the outfield at all and that’s he’ll strictly be a pitcher and he’ll get his at-bats as a designated hitter.
That, and apparently the team has also informed Ohtani that he is not allowed to slide head first into bases under any circumstances. Never heard of anything like that before, but I honestly don’t hate it. Ohtani is widely regarded as a really good base runner, but he was brought to Anaheim to pitch, not swipe bags or leg out singles into doubles.
Also, Scioscia confirmed what had previously been speculated that the Angels might go with a six-man rotation so that Ohtani could gradually adapt to the major league level by sticking with the routine he had previously used in Japan. Sure, inconvenience everybody else for one guy. Kidding, sort of. If he’s as good as they say, then it’s worth it.
I’d rather make an exception for a pitcher who could potentially be a stud than cater to Garrett Richards, who hasn’t made more than six starts in a season since 2015. Spin zone, it could actually be good for Richards, who tore his patellar tendon in 2015, tore the UCL in his pitching elbow in 2016, and missed just about the entire 2017 season with a bicep injury. People forget Garrett Richards used to actually be good.
But back to Ohtani — he’s projected to make 24 starts this season, log 148 innings, post a 3.55 ERA with a mark of 11.12 strikeouts per nine innings and be a 3.0 WAR player. Only five starting pitchers who qualified had a K/9 of 11.12 or higher last year — Chris Archer (11.15), Corey Kluber (11.71), Max Scherzer (12.02), Robbie Ray (12.11), and Chris Sale (12.93). That’s pretty damn good for a first-year pitcher in a new league, in a new country, at the age of 24.