Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rookie Shohei Ohtani has captivated the minds of the sports world in what has been a rather short period of time. His nasty stuff on the mound and impressive raw power have formed a deadly duo.
While Ohtani has been impressive, indeed, the Angels’ young prodigy wants to shoulder greater responsibility.
In a recent post by ESPN, the Japanese player said that he understands why the Angels are taking it slow with him. However, he also asserted that he is up to the challenge of “play[ing] more,” via his personal translator.
“It’s the beginning of the season, so I think they are being pretty careful with me right now. Once the season gets tougher and the schedule gets tougher throughout the summer, hopefully I can make them want to play me more. I would like to play more. If not, that’s what it is. I have to follow what they have to say.”
Based on what Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports, the Angels’ stance may not change anytime soon. Manager Mike Scioscia has consistently made it clear that the ballclub will be careful.
Fletcher goes on to exhibit the game plan the Angels have been using so far for the rookie sensation. He reminds baseball fans that Ohtani will not be slotted in at DH on the days before or after he toes the rubber. This is generally how his routine went overseas as well.
The dual threat’s pattern so far has usually been reflective of that gameplan. However, given that he has only started in seven of the Angels’ 13 games, his desire to play more makes plenty of sense.
His level of play certainly indicates that he is worthy of additional playing time. According to Sports Illustrated’s Dan Gartland, Ohtani is sporting a robust 0.364 average. Additionally, the 23-year-old has clubbed three home runs and driven in eight runs. Those home runs shed some light as to why he was named the American League’s Player of the Week last week.
To no surprise, Ohtani has been every bit as incredible as a hurler. He has been a winner in his two starts thus far, stringing together a 2.08 ERA. Over that span, he has collected 18 strikeouts, with 12 of those occurring this past Sunday. It is key to note that in that same game, he was tossing a perfect game after six-plus innings of work.
Games like Sunday’s are not going to happen every time Ohtani pitches. Nonetheless, it shows how talented and capable the young man is.
His well-rounded play has caused some to coin him as the next version of Babe Ruth. However, according to Josh Peter of USA Today, those within the bloodline of Ruth are not willing to go quite that far yet. Tom Stevens, the only living grandson of the Sultan of Swat, had the following to say about the comparisons.
“He’s a long way from being Babe,” Stevens told USA Today Sports.
“But let’s say he’s doing things Ruthian.”
Despite Stevens’ defense of his grandfather, Babe’s relative is in awe of Ohtani. His only concern is how long the latter will be able to withstand both pitching and hitting. Even the great Babe Ruth could not handle wearing two hats forever.
Since the future cannot be predicted, sports fans should just continue to enjoy the brilliant Sho-stopper.
Scioscia intends to have the two-way phenom in the Angels’ lineup tonight and tomorrow against Kansas City. As for the pitching side of the spectrum, Ohtani’s next start will be on Sunday with a day of rest beforehand.