Shohei Ohtani Signs With the Los Angeles Angels

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According to reports, Japanese baseball pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani has signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

Shohei Ohtani Signs With Angels

Ohtani, 23, has previously played for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League. Last season, Ohtani slashed .332/.403/.540 with eight home runs and 31 RBI. However, that was only in 61 games. A line more indicative of his talents is 2016, where he slashed .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI. Ohtani is also a two-way player: he can both pitch and hit. Again, in his last full season (100+ innings), he went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA and 174 strikeouts.

He has a fastball that consistently touches 100 MPH and can hit for both power and contact, though scouts project him as someone who can hit .275 and hit 25 home runs in MLB. Scouts also grade him with a 60 speed on the 20-80 scale, which is above-average. He’s garnered comparisons to Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander, Paul O’Neill, and a prime Curtis Granderson.

There was a time in which it seemed unlikely Ohtani would come over this year. By coming over this year, Ohtani forfeits the opportunity to sign for an eight to nine-figure deal, as the CBA requirements force him to be 25 upon coming over to be able to negotiate above the minor league salary. There wasn’t a new agreement between the Japan Pacific League and the MLB at the height of the hype around Ohtani, which left the posting fee at a cap of $20 million

The toughest issue with Ohtani is where he’ll end up playing. He harkens back to the days of the dead-ball era in which players would pitch one game and hit in the games they weren’t pitching in, Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox being the most notable.

Ohtani’s two-way potential gives him great opportunity to not only be successful but to become the potential face of baseball.

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