As Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani arrived at Spring Training this week, the club prepares for a key regular season with the hope of making a deep run in the postseason.
The Angels’ playoff success drought is well known around Major League Baseball, and their failures could be a key reason that Ohtani ultimately opts to leave the team when he becomes a free agent after the year.
With Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon healthy, along with a revamped pitching staff, general manager Perry Minasian has remained optimistic and focused on the team’s goal to win.
The Angels are also going to rely on Ohtani to reach their goals, and that started this week when they announced that Ohtani would toe the rubber on Opening Day, March 30, on the road against the Oakland Athletics:
March 30: Shohei Ohtani Day pic.twitter.com/ayMxoS6mmU
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) February 16, 2023
It was an unsurprising announcement that confirmed the obvious, and he is also slated to start the home opener on April 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Last season he batted .273/.356/.519 with 34 homers, 30 doubles, 11 stolen bases, and 95 RBIs in 157 games. On the mound, he went 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA and 219 strikeouts over 166 innings in 28 starts.
He was named to MLB’s First Team as a pitcher and Second Team All-MLB as a hitter. His four career selection ties Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers for most since the Award’s inception.
Angels manager Phil Nevin plans to increase Shohei Ohtani’s workload
After winning the 2021 American League Most Valuable Player award, he finished this past season with a 2.33 ERA across 166 innings.
Ohtani wrapped up the 2022 season with a 15-9 record and a FIP of 2.40 in 28 starts, earning him the fourth spot in AL Cy Young voting. He took a step forward on the mound, something that has been a work in progress after Tommy John surgery just a few years ago.
Although it will depend on how their rotation shapes out, manager Phil Nevin thinks the club could alter their plans to get him on the mound more often.
“I think it probably depends if there’s another acquisition, if there’s another guy that emerges in that 6 spot. Are we going to go with a five-man rotation? My answer is no,” Nevin said. “But I think Shohei will pitch on that day as much as possible.”
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