In the two seasons Shohei Ohtani has opened up his pitching arsenal with the Los Angeles Angels, he’s put on an absolute display. 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.
The incredible talent is a marvel to witness, but the strain and pressure to monitor has been something the Angels have made a point to keep tabs on given his one-of-a-kind talent.
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.”
His jump in innings was only by a short margin from 2021-to-2022, and the natural workload progression would put him near 200 innings if they do decide to eliminate some built-in off days.
“Yeah, I don’t want him to have those extra days unless we feel like he needs it,” Nevin said. “There’s some things that pop up throughout the year. If he needs an extra day due to a day off or whatever.
“But if there’s a day off, I’m going to skip somebody to get Shohei all his innings. I don’t want it to come down to the end of the season — and not necessarily for personal accolades or anything like that. The fact is it’s Shohei Ohtani, and I want him out there every time he’s able to pitch.
“I also don’t want it to come down the last series of the season like we did last year and he needed four innings to qualify for an ERA title or strike out per inning or anything like that. He needs to be used and we will.”
The safety net for Nevin and the Angels is the youth and depth of the starting rotation, which is a nod to the group that general manager Perry Minasian has assembled and bolstered thanks to the signing of Tyler Anderson to a three-year deal.
Shohei Ohtani named to 2022 All-MLB team
Ohtani narrowly missed out on a repeat MVP season, but he was named to the 2022 All-MLB Team on Monday, joining his Angels teammate Mike Trout with the honor.
For the second straight year, Ohtani made the list as both a pitcher (First Team All-MLB) and as a hitter (Second Team All-MLB). He’s been an All-MLB Team selection four times in his career, which is tied with Los Angeles Dodgers first basemen Freddie Freeman, who has been selected in all four years of voting for this honor.
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