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Angels links: Shohei Ohtani the batter vs. Shohei Ohtani the pitcher

The most fascinating hypothetical matchup in baseball

Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

Once we get baseball back, one of the reasons to be excited for the 2020 season is Shohei Ohtani, and specifically the return of the multi-faceted star that took Major League Baseball by storm in 2018.

Recovering from Tommy John surgery, Ohtani has been long tossing recently, and Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway told reporters this week Ohtani’s return to pitching off a mound is “imminent.” Whenever this baseball season begins, if it does, it’s reasonable to expect that Ohtani will be able to pitch as well as hit at some point this year.

In two major league seasons, Ohtani, now 25, is a .286/.351/.532 hitter, with a 135 OPS+. On the mound, Ohtani posted a 3.31 ERA (a 127 ERA+) in 10 starts, with 63 strikeouts in 51⅔ innings and a 29.9-percent strikeout rate.

In addition to his contributions both in the heart of the lineup and near the top of the starting rotation, Ohtani’s status as baseball’s only two-way player could even give the Angels a unique advantage when it comes to roster construction, at least under the standard 26-man active roster rules.

With Ohtani back at full strength, R.J. Anderson at CBS Sports went into painstaking detail trying to answer a fascinating question:

We have a fun little scenario to poke at: Ohtani the pitcher vs. Ohtani the hitter. We’ll be attempting to provide an answer through four prisms: what statistical analysis, a proxy matchup, experts, and virtual reality say would happen.

I won’t spoil the answer, but the question remains intriguing. And Anderson included a video from a few years ago that featured batting Ohtani facing pitching Ohtani in virtual reality. Fun.


The Angels were valued at $1.975 billion by Forbes, the ninth-most valuable team in MLB. The Halos’ local media revenue — derived from television and radio broadcasts — were estimated at $116 million in 2019, behind only the Dodgers and Yankees.

As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc with 2020, Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs looked at the effect of missed time on some near Hall of Famers, and among the players mentioned are former Angels Bobby Grich and, to a lesser extent, Brian Downing.

Jacob Diamond examined the toll of a potentially lost season on the minor leagues at the Wall Street Journal.

Mike Trout was a guest speaker Thursday morning during the Anaheim police department’s morning meeting: