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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Is Ohtani Really More Valuable in the AL?

But there’s a case to be made that Ohtani’s bat is actually more valuable in the NL even if he’s just limited to the plate appearances he’d earn as a starting pitcher and (between starts) pinch-hitter. It’s possible that his offensive production, relative to the average pitcher, might be more valuable than his production over the average DH performance.

Interesting article that suggests that Ohtani could produce nearly as much value in ~65 PAs as a pitcher as he would in ~400 PAs as a DH, due to the wildly different replacement levels. And pinch-hitting in the NL could close the gap.

PreservedFish Posted: November 18, 2017 at 11:10 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ohtani

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 19, 2017 at 01:26 PM (#5578531)
It's been reported that in Japan Ohtani usually pitched on Sunday, took Monday off to recover, was the DH Tuesday - Thursday, then was off again on Friday & Saturday to prepare for his next Sunday start. If he's serious about two-way duty, it seems likely that he'd stay with what is familiar to him, and play in the DH league, which allows him something resembling that pattern. If he's reallly a good hitter, maybe he pinch hits a bit, too, or even plays a few games in the outfield if there's an injury or some crazy late-game strategy, but accommodating pitching every 5th or 6th day, rather than once a week, is a big deal, too. A team with 5 starters good enough to keep in regular rotation, rather than skip the #5 guy when off days allow, will have an easier time slotting Ohtani in ways that use all his skills.
   2. catomi01 Posted: November 19, 2017 at 03:07 PM (#5578563)
Interesting article that suggests that Ohtani could produce nearly as much value in ~65 PAs as a pitcher as he would in ~400 PAs as a DH, due to the wildly different replacement levels. And pinch-hitting in the NL could close the gap.


Wouldn't only getting 65 PA's a season pretty quickly degrade his skill with the bat. An awful lot of pitchers were good hitters in HS and College too - but without taking BP every day, getting 400+ PA's a year, and focusing on pitching, its hard to retain that skill at an elite level.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: November 19, 2017 at 03:58 PM (#5578576)
Wouldn't only getting 65 PA's a season pretty quickly degrade his skill with the bat. An awful lot of pitchers were good hitters in HS and College too - but without taking BP every day, getting 400+ PA's a year, and focusing on pitching, its hard to retain that skill at an elite level.


He'd get more than 65. If he's good enough to DH, he's good enough to be the primary PH, so you're looking at somewhere between 100 and 120, at least. He's also going to add PAs as a DH in interleague games, and good enough to let hit the third time instead of the near-mandatory PH.
   4. Baldrick Posted: November 19, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5578581)
He'd get more than 65. If he's good enough to DH, he's good enough to be the primary PH, so you're looking at somewhere between 100 and 120, at least. He's also going to add PAs as a DH in interleague games, and good enough to let hit the third time instead of the near-mandatory PH.

The third time through would also come much earlier if he's actually a good hitter, because you can bat him closer to the top of the lineup. Heck, you could bat him first and hope he can squeeze out a 4th PA in some games.
   5. OCF Posted: November 19, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5578582)
In the long-running and contentious Hall of Merit debates over Wes Ferrell, the conclusion I came to was that Ferrell's hitting in the games he started was far more important to the conversation than his pinch-hitting or his occasional appearances as an outfielder.
   6. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 19, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5578588)
I suspect that whatever team signs Ohtani will learn pretty quick that he has a significant comparative advantage either on the mound or at the plate when facing MLB competition. At that point in time, his days as a two-way player will be limited and he'll eventually specialize, as all players do.

He's obviously talented enough to go on to have a very productive MLB career. That the idea that he'll spend the bulk of it as a SP/DH is rather silly. Just not sure whether his comparative advantage is as a full-time SP or full-time OF/DH.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 19, 2017 at 05:41 PM (#5578590)

I think it obviously makes sense to keep getting him regular PAs as a hitter if he's any good at the plate, since if he suffers a career-ending injury as a pitcher he'll still have value as a hitter.
   8. Jay Seaver Posted: November 19, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5578598)
It's been reported that in Japan Ohtani usually pitched on Sunday, took Monday off to recover...


Well, doesn't everybody have Monday off in NPB? I thought that was how the schedule works over there.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: November 19, 2017 at 08:15 PM (#5578613)
It's been reported that in Japan Ohtani usually pitched on Sunday, took Monday off to recover, was the DH Tuesday - Thursday, then was off again on Friday & Saturday to prepare for his next Sunday start.


That's a 7 day loop. Give him a 5 day loop, and assuming the 3 days of rest are required, he's only DHing once. Which makes it a curiosity, not an actual asset.

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