The Los Angeles Angels have outlined a plan for Shohei Ohtani to be a two-way player, but the bulk of his playing time will come as a starting pitcher.
“He’s going to get the most looks as a pitcher. If he can pitch to his capabilities, that will always influence your team more than what he would do hitting. But that’s not to say he won’t have a chance to be a difference-maker on the offensive end, too.
“There’s a certain novelty to it. You’ve had Madison Bumgarner swing the bat with the Giants, but not like we’re trying to implement with Shohei. I don’t think it’s going to be that big of an issue. We need him to pitch. He’s a big part of our rotation. Secondary to that, when he has an opportunity to swing the bat, we definitely want to take a look at him.”
After Ohtani signed with the Angels in December, the team said it intended to use the Japanese phenom as a pitcher and hitter.
“We definitely plan on him being a two-way player, there’s no doubt about that,” Scioscia told reporters at Ohtani’s introductory press conference.
The Angels current starting rotation projects to have Ohtani, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker and J.C. Ramirez.
Ranked as baseball’s No. 1 prospect for 2018 by MLB.com, Ohtani is rated higher as a pitcher (70 overall grade) than as a hitter (60 overall grade), but projects as a well above-average big leaguer in either case.
In five seasons with Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters, Ohtani had an .859 OPS with 48 home runs in 403 games and a 2.52 ERA with 624 strikeouts in 543 innings.