Japan’s national team star and star of Nippon-Ham Fighters, Shohei Ohtani, will officially make the United States his new home by signing with the Los Angeles Angels. He is known as the Babe Ruth of Japan and for good reason – he is incredibly successful as a pitcher as well as a batter.
The Thrilling Wait Comes to an End
For the most part of the latter of 2017, everything the baseball world could possibly talk about was about Shohei Ohtani. Questions like “What position is he going to play, pitcher or batter?” and “Which team is he going to sign with?” are just some of the questions flying around that were finally put to rest just last week.
Shohei Ohtani makes it official and signs with the Los Angeles Angels. According to Nez Balelo, Ohtani’s agent and one of the heads of CAA Sports said that Ohtani ultimately chose the Angels because of the level of connection he felt with the team and that Ohtani feels the Angels could help him reach his goals in the MLB.
What Can Ohtani Profit from the Angels?
There is one very obvious reason as to why Ohtani could have signed with the Angels out of the many teams that he met with. For one, he’ll be playing with Mike Trout, a six-time all-star, and considered in the sport of baseball as the most complete position player. Trout has won the American League’s Rookie of the Year Award back in 2012 and won the MVP award twice in 2014 as well as in 2016. Ohtani can learn a lot playing alongside Trout for 2018.
What Can the Angels Gain from Ohtani in their Roster?
Turning the coin to the other side, the Los Angeles Angels are also looking to gain a lot by inviting Shohei Ohtani into their team of players. It will surely add more dimension to their team and even add a few more wins in the short term. The Angels have missed the playoffs since 2014. Everyone is excited to see whether they’ll have a shot at it in the next year with the Japanese star baseball player around.
Will he Pitch or Will he Bat?
This is where it gets really interesting with Ohtani. There are only a few players in the history of baseball that can both pitch and hit spectacularly. One of them happens to be Ohtani. It’s no wonder that many teams and executives were eyeing him for their team, even going as far as Japan to see him play live on the field.
Ohtani is both a pitcher and a hitter. He was the starting pitcher for the Fighters back in Japan and he was also the designated hitter. He averaged 382 plate appearances in one season and had as much as 20 games as a pitcher for one season as well.
But if you want to nitpick and check which position he’s better at, pitching or hitting, well, many would argue that he excels at both. In fact, just last year in 2016, he was named to two different spots the Pacific League’s “Best 9”. He received 190 of 245 votes for designated hitter and 111 total votes as pitcher. His batting numbers include .322/.416/.588, and 22 home runs while his pitching values include 10-4, 1.86 E.R.A, and 174 strikeouts for 2016 alone.
If you ask Hideki Kuriyama, manager of the Fighters, he’d tell you that Ohtani likes pitching better but that he is a greater hitter.
Why MLB Now and not Later?
If Shohei Ohtani opted to move to the US 2 years from now, he could have earned a lot more compared to what he is being offered now. Many fans even admired his decision and now upholds Ohtani with a lot more respect for the humility of his decision. It just goes to show that improving his talent and skill is more important than the potential money he could earn. If he plays as well as he does in Japan, the money will come later. For now, fans are looking at the Angels with renewed hope for next year with Ohtani on board.