His 2019 season debut has been getting close and Shohei Ohtani is in the Angels’ lineup on Tuesday night.
The Los Angeles Angels activated third baseman Zack Cozart and reliever Cody Allen off the injured list on Tuesday. But a third player added to the roster is the clear headliner, as Shohei Ohtani has been activated and is in the lineup Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers.
Ohtani had high expectations upon his arrival in the United States last season, as both a hitter and a pitcher, and he delivered.
He had a 3.31 ERA and a 11.0 K/9 over 10 starts on the mound, along with a .285/.361/.564 slash line, 22 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 stolen bases over 367 plate appearances as the Angels’ designated hitter.
He took home American League Rookie of the Year by a good margin, tallying 91 percent of possible points with 25 of 30 first-place votes.
An elbow injury shortened Ohtani’s debut season on the mound and Tommy John surgery last October will keep him from pitching at all this season. But he can hit while he’s still on the mend and he has been progressing toward his 2019 debut in recent weeks.
Ohtani is stepping right in as the No. 3 hitter and DH for the Angels, against Tigers’ left-hander Daniel Norris.
The Angels enter Tuesday11th in the American League in runs (4.65 per game) and they’re in the bottom half of the league across the board offensively.
Mike Trout is producing pretty much as expected (.290/.471/.560 slash-line), but he is also leading the majors with 31 walks (seven intentional) as opposing pitchers have had no fear of who’s hitting behind him.
So Ohtani’s presence is desperately needed to provide a shot in the arm to the Angels’ lineup, as well as support for Trout.
He had a pretty significant ramp up before joining the team and being activated, with 50 plate appearances in simulated game action, so Ohtani may be able to relatively hit the ground running.