Baseball is back, as MLB players have reported to Spring Training. For the Los Angeles Angels, it’s a chance to finally see Shohei Ohtani in action.
Anxious fans of the Los Angeles Angels will be happy to hear that Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani reportedly looked quite impressive in his first bullpen session with the team, according to Maria Guardado of MLB.com.
This offseason has been one of slowest and most uneventful in recent memory. But one of the top players came off the board back in December when Shohei Ohtani signed with the Angels. Ohtani, 23, was seemingly Japan’s Babe Ruth. Debuting with the Nippon-Ham Fighters at just 18 years old, Ohtani quickly landed on the MLB radar.
Ohtani is a two-way player, meaning he can both pitch and play the field while sporting a productive bat. And he did both exceedingly well in Japan. Over the course of his five-year career with Nippon-Ham, Ohtani went 42-15 with a 2.52 ERA to go along with 624 strikeouts (10.3 SO/9). At the plate, he slashed .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1170 plate appearances.
Though Ohtani looked good in his first bullpen session, the Japanese star said he wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance. But that’s just the typical attitude of a professional athlete. Always hungry for more and striving to be better.
Ohtani throws a fastball, splitter, slider and curveball, and he apparently worked in all of those pitches during his throwing session.
For Ohtani, the Angels seem like a perfect fit. Being in the American League gives him the advantage of being able to be a designated hitter when he’s not pitching. This could help him save enough energy to really utilize his two-way abilities. And the team does plan to use him both on the mound and at the plate.
Ohtani will undoubtedly be one of the most intriguing players to watch this season. His addition to the Angels may finally give them the talent they needed to surround Mike Trout with to be competitors in the AL West.