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Monday, April 9, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: SHOHEI OHTANI THE REAL DEAL

There is dominance and then there was what Los Angeles Angeles pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani accomplished Sunday versus the Oakland A's.  Having already erased his rough spring across the board, Ohtani reaffirmed his status as arguably the greatest talent to ever come out of Japan by tossing 7 scoreless innings of pure dominance Sunday as he gave up just 1 hit, one walk, and struck out an insane 12 batters.  The outing lowered Ohtani's season ERA to 2.08 and WHIP to a ridiculous 0.46 as he now has compiled 18 K's in just 13 innings.  Add in the three home runs when operating as the team's outfielder and Ohtani has been superb no matter what version of him you own.

For the purpose of this piece, let's focus in more on the pitching side of things.  Needless to say, Ohtani has been as advertised across the board.  I said from the beginning that Ohtani the pitcher would have more value than Ohtani the hitter and that is because on the pitching side of things, his stuff is off the charts.  Already capable of hitting 100 with his fastball, Ohtani's has downright sick movement on almost all of his throws which makes it nearly impossible for the opposing hitter to handle.  While the strikeouts certainly bear this out, the high number of swings-and-misses also add to the high degree of difficulty in just making contact.  Even more impressive has been the fact that Ohtani has just two walks and so if he is not beating himself with free passes, he is nothing short of a fantasy baseball ace.

In terms of negatives, the one obvious issue is that Ohtani will not have a high inning total this season given the fact the Angels are using a six-man rotation to space out his starts.  That could hurt in points leagues but in roto not so much.  We are now in an era where fewer guys than ever are reaching 200 frames and so Ohtani's 160 or so innings this season will still be quite valuable.  Don't overthink things there even for a second.

In the end, Shohei Ohtani has been simply magnificent and it is another reminder that spring stats mean zero.  There were many who cut Ohtani outright given his rough spring (I got tons of tweets on this) and those short-sighted owners are really hurting right now.  This could be a terrific ride no matter whether Ohtani is throwing or hitting a baseball and kudos to those who are lucky enough to have a stake here. 


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