Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Angels See Shohei Ohtani's Impact Coming As Pitcher First

Angels See Shohei Ohtani's Impact Coming As Pitcher First

Although Shohei Ohtani has yet to make his major league debut, the excellence he displayed in the batter's box and on the mound while in Japan was enough to make you believe his arrival in the United States could be a game-changer.

"Shohei is going to have a little longer day than most of our pitchers", Manager Mike Scioscia said.

In the Yahoo format, Ohtani likely won't be worth rostering as a hitter.

One of the most exciting prospects in some time has arrived in Major League Baseball.

But the bulk of Ohtani's value will come as a pitcher. This is a minor hurdle, especially in comparison to the above points, but it's also a reminder that the Angels are under no pressure to place him on said roster to begin the 2018 regular season in the event they don't deem him ready. In either case, he'd still need to be slotted in either an active hitter or pitcher position in each scoring period.

"Rule No. 1 of fantasy is: Don't break the game", Becquey said.

Despite earning MVP honors in Japanese pro baseball, Ohtani is considered an amateur according to global signing rules agreed to by Major League Baseball and its union.

Ohtani's either/or decision also keeps the matter of precedent in mind, as his treatment could also apply to future such examples of two-way players. For example, Madison Bumgarner is a commonly cited pitcher with decent hitting skills, and his San Francisco Giants did forfeit their DH in order to allow him to hit for himself in an American League game against the Oakland Athletics on June 30, 2016. He'll receive the traditional Player Rater valuation for his pitching statistics - the Rater normalizes stats against what you could reasonably expect from a replacement level player in your league - but because any hitting contributions he provides you would be considered "bonus" contributions, each of those numbers would be rewarded incrementally.

The ramifications on the rest of squad will be felt either in the form of a six-man bullpen (unlikely) or a three-man bench (more likely), but if lightening the load on a player with Ohtani's potential with both the bat and the arm ends up being successful, then this could be a rough sketch of what the future looks like when it comes to rotations across baseball.

His attempt to be a two-way player, too, could tax him physically just as it boosts his intrigue in fantasy baseball leagues.

Ohtani, having signed on a minor league contract, needed an invitation to attend the Angels' major league spring camp.

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