He’s got the spin rates. He’s got the exit velocities. He’s got the power. Two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani has the skills to translate into big league success and the Dodgers are one of the finalists to sign him to his first Major League contract. Of course we all know that the Dodgers are probably not going to sign him (Unlikely they brake the bank), but man wouldn’t it be cool if they did?
According to Mike Petriello of MLB.com’s statcast, Ohtani’s skills, peripherals, and metrics all point to him being able to transfer immediately into major league success. He certainly looks like he could become a star. We all know it doesn’t quite work that way though. We’ve seen plenty of highly touted Japanese players come over to the majors and never make it,or suck, or disappoint. On the flip side we’ve also seen a lot of super talented Japanese stars from the NPB come over and become exactly who we thought they would be.
If the Dodgers sign Ohtani, where would he fit into the starting rotation or starting lineup? Ohtani had just 231 plate appearances for the Nippon Ham Fighters, but still managed to slash an excellent .332/.403/.540 and post a .942 OPS. Pretty darned good for a pitcher if you ask me.
Ohtani is so much more than just a glorified Orel Hershiser or Fernando Valenzuela with the bat. Those guys were good hitters for pitchers, but Ohtani is someone who could actually start every day and produce. According to the numbers, he batted .322 and posted an OPS of over a thousand in 2016. He’s got the power too. He hit 8 home runs in 2017 and 22 long balls in 2016. He’s hit 48 career home runs. He probably won’t hit 22 home runs while playing in spacious pitcher friendly Dodger Stadium, but he definitely has some pop.
One would think the Dodgers would put Ohtani in left field if they decide to obtain his services. He would definitely push Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles or whoever else is in the mix off to the bench. Although he’s played just seven career games in left field and the rest of the time has been in right field. Note that he hasn’t played the outfield at all since 2014 according to his NPB stats. He only pitched 25.1 innings in 2017. I still think Ohtani brings more value to the Dodgers in the rotation that he would in the outfield/starting lineup. They have a bigger need in the rotation than in the outfield or lineup.
My guess is he goes to the Mariners. That’s just a hunch based on Seattle’s deep roots to Japan and some of the recent moves/trades from the emerald city over the last week. They just recently acquired former Dodger and juicer Dee Gordon from the Marlins. They’ve also been acquiring international bonus money. They may be tooling up for something big.
I don’t see the Padres or Rangers getting him. The Padres are poor. The Rangers are not a west coast club and recent reports indicate that Ohtani wants to play for a west coast team. That goes for the Cubs as well. So that leaves the Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and ughhh Giants. If we’re going by process of elimination during my totally fabricated logic.
Oh god what if the Giants get him? Gulp.