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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Scouts: Shohei Ohtani not MLB ready offensively

“He’s basically like a high school hitter because he’s never seen a good curveball,” the scout said. “He’s seen fastballs and changeups. And you’re asking a high school hitter to jump to the major leagues?”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2018 at 04:13 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, shohei ohtani

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   1. Shredder Posted: March 11, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5636654)
Not saying they're wrong, but they sure as hell were quiet before he signed. Guess they don't have cameras in Japan.
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 11, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5636658)
If you RTFA, they're not crazy about his pitching either
   3. Darren Posted: March 11, 2018 at 05:32 PM (#5636659)
They're wrong.
   4. JRVJ Posted: March 11, 2018 at 06:03 PM (#5636669)
I would think that a kernel of what the scouts say is sensible, but it seriously undersells Japanese baseball.
   5. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: March 11, 2018 at 06:09 PM (#5636673)
“He’s basically like a high school hitter because he’s never seen a good curveball,” the scout said. “He’s seen fastballs and changeups. And you’re asking a high school hitter to jump to the major leagues?”


Do HS players even see good decent any changeups?

Also, the claim that a NPB hitter hasn't seen a "good curveball"? Yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that one ...
   6. Tin Angel Posted: March 11, 2018 at 06:34 PM (#5636684)
Not saying they're wrong, but they sure as hell were quiet before he signed. Guess they don't have cameras in Japan.


He's had 11 spring training at bats already...the verdict is in.
   7. eric Posted: March 11, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5636688)
He's like Hideki Irabu and Kaz Matsui rolled into one!
   8. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 11, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5636690)
I thought it was an interesting article. Neither Passan nor the scouts are just calling him a hopeless case but they are raising what for the most part sound like reasonable concerns around a young player. The curveball thing surprised me because, and this is obviously dated info, I remember Cecil Fielder saying he really learned to hit the curve in Japan. The idea that things have changed in 30 years (god I’m old) isn’t outrageous but I was surprised by it,
   9. Sunday silence Posted: March 11, 2018 at 07:05 PM (#5636692)
from what I gather I think they are saying they dont throw real hard breaking curves in NPB but mostly rely on cut fastballs or something. But yeah, I agree with no. 5; its not like the physics are different in Japan.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5636702)
Well, the list of Japanese hitters who have come over and found success is pretty short. The number who hit for power in the majors is even shorter (Hideki Matsui; Fielder ... I must be forgetting a couple of other returning ex-pats). Seems MLB has been looking more to Korea for hitters lately -- and not having much success with that (but Thames yes).

Anyway, no shame if he can't hit, much less hit well enough to DH or play a corner. It always seemed a longshot to me -- hitting is hard.
   11. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 11, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5636703)
HS hitters see mostly fastballs and curves, but my son lived on a bugs bunny changeup when he pitched in HS.

Not saying they're wrong, but they sure as hell were quiet before he signed.


Pretty sure I read some of the same opinions before Ohtani posted.
   12. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 11, 2018 at 07:35 PM (#5636704)
its not like the physics are different in Japan.


Well, the baseball is quite different so in a way the physics actually are different.
   13. Jason Dean Posted: March 11, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5636726)
Fair questions, methinks. Signing with the Angels rather than the Yankees or any east coast team was a wise move.
   14. Tin Angel Posted: March 11, 2018 at 10:15 PM (#5636731)
Well, the list of Japanese hitters who have come over and found success is pretty short. The number who hit for power in the majors is even shorter (Hideki Matsui; Fielder ... I must be forgetting a couple of other returning ex-pats).


Ichiro could have...if he wanted to.
   15. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: March 11, 2018 at 10:20 PM (#5636732)
Luis Valbuena on offense, Ricky Nolasco on the mound. WHERES THE LIE?
   16. Endless Trash Posted: March 11, 2018 at 11:14 PM (#5636739)
Those grapes, they are so sour
   17. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 11, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5636740)
Signing with the Angels rather than the Yankees or any east coast team was a wise move.


Well like Ichiro, it's nice to be closer to home when you need to head back and see family. Matsui had his porn, which he could just take anywhere so NY was good for him!
   18. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:34 AM (#5636742)
He's like Hideki Irabu and Kaz Matsui rolled into one!


A Fat Kaz Toad?
   19. Lassus Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:20 AM (#5636755)
It's gratifying scouts are finally aware that hitters smashing the shit out of the ball for the first three weeks of spring training are basically set for their careers.
   20. Rally Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5636778)
Do HS players even see good decent any changeups?


If that includes the splitter, I threw one in HS. Splitters are common in Japan. But anyone old enough to have faced me in HS is retired.
   21. geonose Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5636842)
Pretty sure I read some of the same opinions before Ohtani posted.

Keith Law said it repeatedly, which means that he heard it from scouts repeatedly.
   22. bfan Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5636895)
It's gratifying scouts are finally aware that hitters smashing the #### out of the ball for the first three weeks of spring training are basically set for their careers.


But poor results backed-up by perceived poor mechanics or a noticeable weakness against a particular pitch can be meaningful, if for no other reason than it make take him a a few months to adjust to MLB pitching.
   23. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5636909)
But poor results backed-up by perceived poor mechanics or a noticeable weakness against a particular pitch can be meaningful, if for no other reason than it make take him a a few months to adjust to MLB pitching.


I think the hype train got away from some of the scouts before he posted and now in order to save face (ha) they are starting to try and walk back the "consensus" (as much as there can be one) on how MLB ready he is. Every prospect list I saw this spring had Ohtani #1 with a bullet, even ahead of Acuna.

More to your point it seems like he could really use a couple hundred every day at bats down in AAA to work on pitch recognition and quickening his bat. That's entirely not surprising to me (given how young he is; this isn't a fully formed Jose Abreu putting up Bonds numbers in Cuba) and if I were him I'd probably just focus on pitching for now. But, the Angels seemed to have arranged quite a few things so he can be a part time position player and I think they will have a hard time walking that plan back should things not go well early.
   24. eric Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5636996)
I think they will have a hard time walking that plan back should things not go well early.


I agree that the decision will probably be made in such a manner, but they've already committed the money. They should do exactly what it takes to maximize the value they receive. If it means starting him in A for a couple weeks to get a couple pitching starts and some hacks at the plate, then AA for a few weeks, then AAA with the goal of having him in MLB by June or the ASB, then they should do exactly that. Or if he has clear MLB ability in only one of the two ways, then only use him in that way.

There's no shame in starting him low and letting him progress at his own pace. NPB and MLB are different enough games with different equipment, even if the actual skill level in NPB is AAA+.

I don't see why rushing him or forcing him into a position he isn't suited for might be any less detrimental than doing so to any young player. And the Angels have a lot more money invested in him than many teams have in a prospect, with the exact same opportunity cost.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5636997)
He's probably better than Pujols, though.
   26. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5637000)
"He’s basically like a high school hitter because he’s never seen a good curveball."
This is dumb and hyperbole, dumb hyperbole.

Curves, in fact, are utilized less in NPB than in MLB (more forkballs, etc...) but there's not a shortage of solid curveballs to be found.

Ohtani's was thought to be a better hitter versus fastballs than off-speed stuff - that hasn't changed. The types and composition of off-speed stuff has - which will likely require an adjustment period. Not a big deal, imo, given reps.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5637094)
#24 ... the Angels are a contender this year, for a WC at least, and Ohtani is likely a ML-ready pitcher. They can't afford to put him in the minors for a month or two to work on his hitting. This was always part of the "risk" of the 2-way player -- not only does he have to be good at both for it to really make much difference, he needs both tools to develop at about the same pace.

Our closest analogies are probably guys like Schwarber and Carlos Delgado -- the bats were ready, the C defense clearly wasn't. You have to make a call on how likely you think it is the defense will ever get there and how long you're willing to delay the bat to find out. With Ohtani, it may be arm and bat rather than bat and defense but the dilemma is the same.
   28. Rally Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5637099)
I don't see why rushing him or forcing him into a position he isn't suited for might be any less detrimental than doing so to any young player. And the Angels have a lot more money invested in him than many teams have in a prospect, with the exact same opportunity cost.


Actually, they don’t. He signed for 2.3 million, equivalent to the bonus money of a late first rounder, about pick #28.
   29. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5637103)
[wrong]
   30. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5637104)
The money seems like ash tray money in the grand scheme of things. The real problem isn't the money it's the expectation of contending and the expectations they put on him when they signed him and made the arrangements for him to be a part time position player THIS YEAR.

They should have been much more conservative, and just said something like "He's a full time pitcher and we'll see about all that other stuff after we make sure he's well settled on the mound."

   31. Nasty Nate Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:20 PM (#5637106)
They should have been much more conservative, and just said something like "He's a full time pitcher and we'll see about all that other stuff after we make sure he's well settled on the mound."
He probably wouldn't have signed with them in that case...
   32. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:37 PM (#5637113)
He probably wouldn't have signed with them in that case...


well, that's a good point. Maybe the other clubs simply didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. Hell, maybe some of them flat out told him he wasn't good enough to hit.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5637146)
Actually, they don’t. He signed for 2.3 million,

They don't have much extra money committed but they also invested a posting fee in him (paid to his team).
   34. Rally Posted: March 13, 2018 at 08:42 AM (#5637180)
Good point on posting fee. So that's 22.3 million invested. Considering the level of talent him being an Angel still feels like found money, a pure bonus.

Maybe the other clubs simply didn't tell him what he wanted to hear. Hell, maybe some of them flat out told him he wasn't good enough to hit.


Strongly doubt it. His Japanese stats are good enough and so are the scouting reports, that he'll hit at least something useful if not be a star. It's possible that some teams told him they only wanted him to pitch so he could focus all of his energy on that task.

It's possible that he can't do both jobs. He may be capable of hitting MLB, but not good enough to be an asset as a DH. For example, he might not be any better than Fukudome was, an excellent hitter in Japan but only average over here (99 OPS+). But given the Angels' situation, that would still be helpful. Anything that get Pujols out of the lineup helps.

He may need more than 2-3 DH appearances per week to get acclimated to MLB pitching, and more time is just not going to happen given the demands of his pitching preparation.
   35. Sunday silence Posted: March 13, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5637436)

It's possible that he can't do both jobs. He may be capable of hitting MLB, but not good enough to be an asset as a DH.


IN which case, he would be better off in the NL, yes? THat was point last fall but seemed to be in the minority.
   36. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 13, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5637439)
Many teams don't want full time DHs anyway - there'd be value in the added roster spot anyway.
   37. eddieot Posted: March 13, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5637457)
I'm looking at him as a pitcher who can hit. Anything he contributes offensively is found money, like a MadBum. If he pitches like MadBum it won't matter if he sucks at hitting.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: March 13, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5637462)
You guys are ignoring the marketing boost that he would provide as an actual DH. Ohtani succeeding on both sides of the ball could make him the biggest story and biggest star in forever.
   39. Rally Posted: March 14, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5637698)
Out of curiosity, I looked at his NPB stats compared to Hideki Matsui through age 22:

Ohtani: 286/358/500
Matsui: 289/369/517

Close but not quite there. He was actually ahead going into 2017, but Matsui had a breakout that year while Ohtani was hurt, and took a step back from his 2016 production. Matsui hit 282/360/462 in MLB. If Ohtani can keep up the relative production and hit 279/349/445, I think the Angels will be happy. Especially considering the 30 million dollar alternative.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: March 14, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5637733)
If Ohtani can keep up the relative production and hit 279/349/445, I think the Angels will be happy.


I think they'd be ecstatic.

   41. DJS Holiday-Related Pun Posted: March 14, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5637793)
The good news for the Angels on Ohtani's hitting is that their present DH, Albert Pujols, is not currently MLB-ready offensively.
   42. shoewizard Posted: April 07, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5649680)
Already taking a beating on Twitter, I bet Passan would like a time machine about now.

Gcar     Date Opp PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1      Mar 29 OAK  5  5 0 1  0  0  0   0  0  1 .200 .200 .200  .400
2       Apr 3 CLE  4  4 2 3  0  0  1   3  0  1 .444 .444 .778 1.222
3       Apr 4 CLE  5  5 1 2  0  0  1   2  0  1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
4       Apr 6 OAK  5  4 1 1  0  0  1   2  1  1 .389 .421 .889 1.310
                  19 18 4 7  0  0  3   7  1  4 .389 .421 .889 1.310 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/7/2018.


also from Jayson Stark:

Players who haven't hit a ball as hard (via exit velo) as Shohei Ohtani this season:

Aaron Judge
Bryce Harper
Mike Trout
Nelson Cruz
Khris Davis
Miguel Sano

And a whole lot of other guys whose names you've heard of! https://t.co/Z4AbM8nsbT</p>— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) <a href="https://twitter.com/jaysonst/status/982623104018014208?ref_src=twsrc^tfw">April 7, 2018

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