Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Shohei Ohtani picks up victory for Angels in his mound debut | OC Register

OAKLAND — Just like Shohei Ohtani and the Angels had been saying all along, spring training means nothing.

A rough spring had prompted plenty of questions about the Japanese superstar’s readiness for the majors, but his performance in his first outing as a big league pitcher no doubt eased many concerns from outside the organization.

Ohtani pitched six innings in the Angels’ 7-4 victory over the Oakland A’s on Sunday afternoon, completing his historic season-opening series.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 01, 2018 at 07:26 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: #bandwagon, angels, shohei ohtani

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. eric Posted: April 01, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5646587)
I'm an Angels fan, and I'm rooting for Ohtani to succeed. That said, historic gets thrown about a teeeensy bit too much in sportsdom.
   2. stevegamer Posted: April 01, 2018 at 11:30 PM (#5646621)
Reading the article it's the first planned pitcher/player since since 1920, and clearly the first Japanese player to do this. I'd say it's more historic than many other things deemed historic in baseball. Maybe this becomes a trend that breaks the 13 man pitching staff down to something more resonable? Say 11 pure pitchers, and two position player combo pitchers?
   3. Tim M Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:46 AM (#5646635)
So his ERA now is a pedestrian 4.50, but it's an unlucky 4.50, as only 4 guys reached base total, 2 of them right before the big bomb.

B-R doesn't have his FIP up yet, but I'm guessing it's 2-point-something. He hit 99 numerous times, and his split was nasty. Good start.
   4. eric Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:17 AM (#5646639)
Maybe this becomes a trend that breaks the 13 man pitching staff down to something more resonable? Say 11 pure pitchers, and two position player combo pitchers?


Sparking a massive cultural shift would be historic. But I have to wonder: where are these players going to come from who are so preternaturally gifted at both hitting and pitching that they are legitimate MLB players in both ways? Even players who are/were rather pedestrian by MLB standards on either side--Brooks Kieschnick, for example--don't exactly grow on trees.
   5. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 02, 2018 at 06:50 AM (#5646644)
Nevermind.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 02, 2018 at 08:56 AM (#5646659)
Reading the article it's the first planned pitcher/player since since 1920, and clearly the first Japanese player to do this. I'd say it's more historic than many other things deemed historic in baseball.


This was my take too. I was wondering as I watched yesterday the last time it happened and nearly a century ago qualifies as historic. Maybe not impressive depending on your point of view but historic seems like the right word.

Why did he only play one of the first three games? I wasn't surprised to learn he had the day before his mound appearance off but why did he have two days off?
   7. Sweatpants Posted: April 02, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5646662)
Ohtani started the first game as the designated hitter and the last game as the pitcher, the first big leaguer to start as a pitcher and non-pitcher within the first 10 games of a season since 1920.
Of course that has me wondering who the 1920 guy was. I thought that maybe it was Ruth, because I remembered that he did a little bit of pitching with the Yankees, but it wasn't. It wasn't Joe Wood or George Sisler, either.

Edit: Ruth did do it in 1919, though.
   8. Shredder Posted: April 02, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5646663)
Sparking a massive cultural shift would be historic. But I have to wonder: where are these players going to come from who are so preternaturally gifted at both hitting and pitching that they are legitimate MLB players in both ways? Even players who are/were rather pedestrian by MLB standards on either side--Brooks Kieschnick, for example--don't exactly grow on trees.
How many Rick Ankiels are there that get shunted into one role because they're better in that role, but still major league caliber in the other, just because "that's how it's done"? If MLB teams had committed to using Madison Bumgardner both ways, how would he have done? Darren Dreifort?
Why did he only play one of the first three games? I wasn't surprised to learn he had the day before his mound appearance off but why did he have two days off?
He likely would have DHed on Friday, but the A's started Sean Manaea, who is a lefty, so they went with the platoon advantage at DH. I doubt he'll start at DH very much against lefties.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5646671)
But I have to wonder: where are these players going to come from who are so preternaturally gifted at both hitting and pitching that they are legitimate MLB players in both ways? Even players who are/were rather pedestrian by MLB standards on either side--Brooks Kieschnick, for example--don't exactly grow on trees.


I wonder, if you're an 18-year old with potential on both sides of the ball, and you want to play both ways, is there an argument for moving to Japan? Compared to college, you get paid and you get more reps against a higher caliber of player. Compared to the draft, the money may be comparable (?) and you would demand the promise of 2-way play.

Not that a Hunter Greene would necessarily be a starter at age 18 in Japan, but, hey, maybe, and he could probably shoot up the chain faster than in the US. Also, I don't have any idea about the rules or red tape involved.
   10. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 02, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5646700)
How many Rick Ankiels are there that get shunted into one role because they're better in that role, but still major league caliber in the other, just because "that's how it's done"? If MLB teams had committed to using Madison Bumgardner both ways, how would he have done? Darren Dreifort?


Tonight's Red Sox starting pitcher is Brian Johnson*. When he was drafted Baseball America said that if he was going to be a hitter he would have rated as the hitter in the Sox' draft that year with the most power. He hit .324/.383/.492 in three years of college ball.

* - Johnson is the son and niece of a pair of Doublemint twins for those of you old enough to remember that ad campaign.
   11. Stormy JE Posted: April 02, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5646711)
That said, historic gets thrown about a teeeensy bit too much in sportsdom.
Well, it was historic for him.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: April 02, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5646721)
Have they backed off their intentions to let him hit when he's a SP, or did they know he wasn't going to go deep in his first start so used the DH?
   13. eric Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5646808)
If MLB teams had committed to using Madison Bumgardner both ways, how would he have done? Darren Dreifort


I think the issue is one of return on investment. Asking someone to work on both sides in the minors is splitting a guy's focus and potentially dampening returns. Most minor leaguers, even guys considered legitimate prospects, never reach MLB. Most who do don't do a whole lot. And that's guys focusing on just one side. How much damage do you do to a guy's potential if instead of just hitting for eight+ hours a day (or just pitching/studying pitching eight+ hours a day), he's now trying to do each for four+ hours a day?

I can see why teams may want to keep the door open to position changes as guys progress in the minors--and they already seem to do that--but I can also very much see why they'd want a player to focus on just one job rather than trying to do so much they never really achieve much at anything. Teams investing millions want their ROI.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5646817)
I think the utility infielder / mopup pitcher is going to become more common. But you can't expect more Ohtanis.
   15. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5646818)
Ohtani hit the ball pretty hard a couple times in his first start as a DH. I'd be so happy if he lived up to the hype.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5646831)
If MLB teams had committed to using Madison Bumgardner both ways, how would he have done? Darren Dreifort?
Yeah, talk about missed opportunities - just think of how much more time Dreifort could have spent on the DL if he was a DH too!
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5646854)
John Van Benschoten looked like the second best hitter in college before he was drafted (albeit playing at Kent State). His senior season he hit .440/.550/.982 while only pitching 48 innings, all in relief.

The Pirates drafted him 8th overall, used him exclusively as a pitcher and he ended up with what I believe is the worst career ever for someone with as many MLB starts as him (19). He talked even early in his career about how he was surprised they didn't want to use him as a hitter,

So there's a point in favor of taking a flexible approach.
   18. , Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5646864)
I actually think DH/P is an easier goal than P/position player.

The latter has to work on pitching, hitting and defense. That is a lot. But you can fit pitching and hitting in. These guys work hard but a lot of that work isn't task specific: it's working out, nutrition, conditioning, etc. Stuff that doubles up for the extra positions. It would be extra work but not 8 hours of extra work.

As to the risk of "distraction" by doing something different, I think that is a plus. Too many people work too hard at one single thing. Taking some time to work on a different skill - taking a break from the one single focus - is often a good thing.
   19. . . . . . . Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5646895)
Agree wholeheartedly with #18. P / position player is pushing it, but I just don't buy it for P / DH. You probably need to sacrifice optimal hitter muscle building in order to maintain flexibility for pitching, but Bumgarner generates plenty of exit velocity regardless.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: April 02, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5646902)
As to the risk of "distraction" by doing something different, I think that is a plus. Too many people work too hard at one single thing. Taking some time to work on a different skill - taking a break from the one single focus - is often a good thing.

I think the issue might be the stress/recovery involved in pitching, which interferes with anything else they might want to do. We don't consider hitter/defenders two-way players in quite the same way even though those are two unrelated skills.
   21. , Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5646917)
Thinking about this more is the bigger issue of specialization at very young ages. I think a pro could find enough time in the day to train at both pitching and hitting. But that isn't going to be the problem. The problem is not many get to that level before they are shunted one way or the other. That happens younger and younger. I don't care what your innate talent is, if you don't hit live pitching from 17 to 22, you aren't going to be a MLB hitter.

   22. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5646924)
So there's a point in favor of taking a flexible approach.
I think the Van Benschoten case suggests instead that a two-way prospect should probably be tried as a hitter first. If he gets a few years in and shows no signs of making it as a hitter, you can convert him to the mound, a la Matt Bush. Whereas as a pitcher he's far more likely to blow out a shoulder (as Van Benschoten did) and become completely useless.
   23. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5646941)

I can see why teams may want to keep the door open to position changes as guys progress in the minors--and they already seem to do that--but I can also very much see why they'd want a player to focus on just one job rather than trying to do so much they never really achieve much at anything. Teams investing millions want their ROI.

There have been at least a few recent examples of players signed as position players who ended up making it in MLB as relief pitchers. Trevor Hoffman was a failed SS/3B in the Reds organization before he became a successful RP with the Marlins/Padres. Matt Bush was a failed SS/human being with the Padres before becoming a successful RP with Texas. Kenley Janson was a C before becoming a RP for the Dodgers.

I don't know the background behind all of those situations - were they two-way stars growing up, or did they discover their pitching skills in the minors? But I wonder whether there are other guys who might have provided a higher ROI if their teams had experimented with using them in multiple roles. (I also wonder whether guys like Hoffman/Bush/Jansen could have been at all useful as occasional PH/DH.)
   24. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5646952)
* - Johnson is the son and niece of a pair of Doublemint twins for those of you old enough to remember that ad campaign.


Talk about a two-way player!

Meh, someone else please do a better job with this.
   25. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5646953)
23 - I'd bet just about every major league pitched at least some in high school. I assume that even an average MLB player probably had the best arm of anyone in his high school. I would say that converting from hitter to pitcher is a LOT easier than converting from pitcher to hitter. Being a hitter is so reactive that as bunyon says if you go a few years without doing it regularly it's a very very difficult conversion to make.
   26. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5646973)
I don't know the background behind all of those situations - were they two-way stars growing up, or did they discover their pitching skills in the minors? But I wonder whether there are other guys who might have provided a higher ROI if their teams had experimented with using them in multiple roles. (I also wonder whether guys like Hoffman/Bush/Jansen could have been at all useful as occasional PH/DH.)

IIRC, I don't think Jansen pitched in any serious way before converting. He was a minor league free agent signing as a catcher and I think they just looked at the arm and decided to give it a go. I wouldn't be surprised if he pitched in HS.

I think the Yanks had a guy like that a while ago that they eventually traded to the Dodgers but his name escapes me. If I'm not totally making the guy up, I think he had a couple quality years before flaming out.

It seems to me that if you have a guy at one of the big arm positions (C, RF, SS, 3b) and he's not going to hit enough to start, you should consider teaching him a cutter and seeing how he looks out of the stretch.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5646994)
I think the utility infielder / mopup pitcher is going to become more common. But you can't expect more Ohtanis.

Or, if you could train your RPs to field a position adequately, you could use your actual bench spots for good hitters.
   28. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5647024)
I wonder, if you're an 18-year old with potential on both sides of the ball, and you want to play both ways, is there an argument for moving to Japan?


Better all-female rock bands? :-)
   29. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5647030)
There have been at least a few recent examples of players signed as position players who ended up making it in MLB as relief pitchers. Trevor Hoffman was a failed SS/3B in the Reds organization before he became a successful RP with the Marlins/Padres. Matt Bush was a failed SS/human being with the Padres before becoming a successful RP with Texas. Kenley Janson was a C before becoming a RP for the Dodgers.


Chris Hatcher came up as a catcher with the Marlins before he converted to a pitcher.
   30. BDC Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:34 PM (#5647038)
It seems to me that if you have a guy at one of the big arm positions (C, RF, SS, 3b) and he's not going to hit enough to start, you should consider teaching him a cutter and seeing how he looks out of the stretch

I think this happens fairly often in the low minors. I had a student awhile back who started at shortstop in college but didn't hit nearly well enough to be drafted. I met him a couple of years later and he said he'd played a year of pro ball. I must have looked surprised, because he quickly added "not as a shortstop": he had been given a tryout as a pitcher and done well enough to spend a year in the pros.
   31. SG Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5647041)
I think the Yanks had a guy like that a while ago that they eventually traded to the Dodgers but his name escapes me. If I'm not totally making the guy up, I think he had a couple quality years before flaming out.

You're thinking of Yhency Brazobán.

Brazobán was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Yankees on July 10, 1997 and proceeded to hit .319 as an outfielder for the Yankees Dominican Summer League, earning a spot on the Dominican League All-Star Team.

In 1999–2000 he made the Gulf Coast League All-Star team, hitting .320 and .303, earning a promotion to Single-A Greensboro in 2000 and playing there through 2002.

The Yankees converted Brazobán from an outfielder to a pitcher in 2003, sending him to three different minor league levels to work on his pitching: the Gulf Coast Yankees, Tampa Yankees and Trenton Thunder. Combined he was 2–4 with 18 saves in 47 relief appearances.
   32. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 02, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5647051)
You're thinking of Yhency Brazobán.

Whoa! Well done sir. I knew it was a weird name with a Y but couldn't come close to digging him up. Thank you.
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 02, 2018 at 03:10 PM (#5647064)

23 - I'd bet just about every major league pitched at least some in high school. I assume that even an average MLB player probably had the best arm of anyone in his high school.

You're probably right, but there's a difference between "pitched some in high school" and being a legitimate pitching star who just isn't quite as good on the mound as he is in the field.

John Olerud is definitely one of those guys who you can imagine what might have been. A legit two-way star his first two years in college, he suffered a brain aneurysm prior to his junior season and didn't really return to form on the mound that year. After that, he was drafted and signed straight to the majors as a hitter, and I don't think he ever tried pitching again.
   34. Obo Posted: April 02, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5647103)
Speaking of Blue Jays, Dave Stieb was originally an outfield prospect, albeit an underwhelming one.
   35. Shredder Posted: April 02, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5647140)
Troy Percival was a great arm, no hit catcher at UC Riverside, but was drafted to be a pitcher. I don't think he ever caught in the minors.
   36. Baldrick Posted: April 02, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5647205)
Better all-female rock bands? :-)

I mean, yes, but it's not like the US is lacking in this department right now either? The vast majority of great young American bands are exclusively or mostly women.
   37. . . . . . . Posted: April 02, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5647208)
The vast majority of great young American bands are exclusively or mostly women.


The vast majority of 0 is still 0.
   38. Baldrick Posted: April 03, 2018 at 01:12 AM (#5647352)
The vast majority of 0 is still 0.

This is like saying there aren't any good young baseball players these days.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
rr
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogSmith, Baines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
(142 - 3:44am, Dec 10)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Hall of MeritMock Hall of Fame Ballot 2019
(58 - 1:19am, Dec 10)
Last: The Run Fairy

NewsblogFormer Miami Marlins president gives his take on A-Rod, Bonds, Girardi and much more
(14 - 12:54am, Dec 10)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network)

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)
(3423 - 12:45am, Dec 10)
Last: there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135

NewsblogWill the A's be in the air next season? Signals are fuzzy.
(6 - 12:25am, Dec 10)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogThibs' Hall of Fame Tracker
(373 - 11:48pm, Dec 09)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogLance Armstrong is mad he gets more criticism than A-Rod, saying “Alex Rodriguez didn’t raise half a billion dollars”
(68 - 10:42pm, Dec 09)
Last: Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (The Berhalter Thread?)
(91 - 10:36pm, Dec 09)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature

NewsblogChinese To Own Louisville Slugger And Wilson, Iconic MLB Bat And Glove Brands
(26 - 10:16pm, Dec 09)
Last: Jose Canusee

Hall of Merit2019 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(270 - 9:33pm, Dec 09)
Last: bachslunch

Hall of MeritMock 2019 Today’s Game Hall of Fame Ballot
(56 - 8:57pm, Dec 09)
Last: Bleed the Freak

Sox TherapyThe Band Is Back Together...Now What?
(14 - 7:26pm, Dec 09)
Last: Davo and his Moose Tacos

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (December 2018)
(398 - 5:23pm, Dec 09)
Last: Master of the Horse

NewsblogOT - 2018 NFL thread
(104 - 4:54pm, Dec 09)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogTim Tebow will get major-league promotion if he deserves it, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen says
(45 - 4:53pm, Dec 09)
Last: Adam Starblind

Page rendered in 0.3846 seconds
46 querie(s) executed