Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani hasn’t been quite the same since the All-Star break. Some regression was to be expected after one of the greatest halves to a season of all time by a player, but even by those standards it has been a challenge.
Ohtani is slashing .237/.355/.516 since the break and has struck out 40 times while recording just 22 hits. However, Joe Maddon may have found the tool to bringing Ohtani back to life at the plate, and it’s something that has worked for other players before. Ohtani has two home runs in his past four games since being moved to the leadoff spot in the lineup.
Maddon spoke about what he’s hoping will be accomplished by moving Ohtani into the leadoff spot for a little while and why it’s worked for other players as well, according to Daniel Guerrero of MLB.com:
“I mean, every time we put somebody up there, they do well,” Maddon said. “He’s getting his stroke back. You saw it. … He just looks right, the ball’s going to left field again on a line. He’s covering the whole plate. His direction in his swing is better. I think whatever it was might have been a little fatigue. I think he’s getting it back right now. It looks really good.”
Justin Upton, David Fletcher, and now Ohtani have all seen drastic improvements when being put into the leadoff spot from a different place in the lineup. Sadly, not everyone can bat leadoff, and Ohtani is the person who needs it most right now.
Fletcher is certainly the team’s full-time leadoff batter, but he’s happy to give it up if it means his teammates can get their groove back during a slump. Now, the Angels just need to get out of their slump, as they’ve lost four of five and have allowed nearly six runs per game in that span.
Brandon Marsh needs to make adjustments
Adjusting from Minor League Baseball to the show is not an easy thing to do. Angels top prospect Brandon Marsh is learning that now in his first month at the MLB level. He is batting just shy of .200, and Maddon believes there’s some adjustments that need to be made.
Despite that, he is not losing confidence in his potential star outfielder, as he, Jo Adell, and Mike Trout make up the future of the Halos outfield.