The struggles of Shohei Ohtani this spring have been well-documented already, and while he’s ranked as one of the top prospects in baseball in most publications, scouts have been vocal about some weaknesses in his game. Ohtani would seem to be a significant part of the Angels’ plans for 2018, but GM Billy Eppler recently said that the club has made no assurances to Ohtani that he’ll be on the opening day roster (report: Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times). “In our universe, we are evaluating this in a vacuum,” said Eppler. “Is this 23-year-old prospect ready to make an impact on both sides of the ball?” The decision to start Ohtani in the minors (if a serious consideration) would certainly make sense from a development perspective, and would come with the enormous benefit of giving the Angels an extra year of control over the two-way Japanese phenom, if he were to spend at least 15 days at Triple-A. Of course, such a decision would surely come with a storm of controversy as well.
Elsewhere in the AL West…
- Greg Johns of MLB.com writes that the injury to Ryon Healy might have presented an opportunity for Mariners first baseman Dan Vogelbach, who’s opened some eyes this spring by hitting .405 with nine extra-base hits and nine walks in 37 at-bats during Cactus League play. “Vogey deserves to be on this club,” said GM Jerry DiPoto. “He has raked from day one. He has controlled the strike zone really better than anybody in the Cactus League. What he’s doing with the bat is reminiscent of what he’s kind of always done in the Minor Leagues, but we’ve never had the opportunity to see in the big leagues.” He also offered high praise for right-hander Rob Whalen, who was acquired from the Braves a year ago and has proved dominant this spring after coming into camp 25 pounds lighter.
- Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will officially undergo Tommy John surgery according to a report earlier today. “I’m trying to take it as best I can, and just get ready for the long process, the long road ahead,” Cotton said in a video tweeted by Jane Lee of MLB.com. “I just gotta work hard with the rehab and come back stronger, so that’s what I’m gonna do.” Cotton’s absence in the rotation will leave the A’s a bit thin on starters, which the club has reportedly acknowledged; manager Bob Melvin has suggested that they might look at free agent pitching options, if prices have come down (h/t Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). One way they don’t plan on filling the rotation void is with top prospect A.J. Puk, according to club president Billy Beane. Via another tweet from Lee, Beane had the following comments when asked if Puk was a legitimate option for the opening day rotation: “If he is, it’s only because we don’t have a lot of options. Do I think it’s ideal to call upon a kid who has half a year at Double-A? No. That would not be the preferred route.”
Controversy? Smh. If he’s not good enough to be on the big league club then he shouldn’t be on the team. Who cares?
Considering he had the choice to go anywhere and the angels were his choice I imagine him being on the big league club was promised,
“GM Billy Eppler recently said that the club has made no assurances to Ohtani that he’ll be on the opening day roster “
Ohtani has looked beyond awful both on the mound and at the plate. They need to send him to AA for a year, then AAA. The “Babe Ruth hype” train really did him no favors.
He will end up pitching better the problem is he is not as great of a hitter he claims to be. Stop the experimental hitting and let him concentrate on being a pitcher first.
And he might end up being terrible at both.
what’s ridiculous is ohtani likely will finish with a better era and k/bb ratio than any of the starters on the mariners and rangers
What the hell are you talking about. Felix and Paxton are both better than any scrub pitcher on the Angels, you could probably include Leake for that matter.
I think it would be smart to start him in Salt Lake and call him up once he’s able to refine his game.
Eppler hit the nail on the head- at the end of the day, he’s still a prospect who isn’t on the 40-man roster just yet.
Give him some time to get it figured out.
actually he is on the 40-man
I don’t know where to fall on the ohtani spectrum. do I believe he should start in the minors? maybe but more so to practice his hitting than anything. pitching he hasn’t been all that bad. yes the era is high but some of the hits have been seeing eye.
Disaster of an offseason for Angels
How was their off season a disaster? Even if you ignore the Ohtani signing, The Angels still went out and got Cozart, Kinsler, and resigned Justin Upton.
Cozart is injury prone and is converting to third from short. Kinsler isn’t what he use to be and Upton well ask Arizona…
You mean ask Arizona about the .832 career OPS that Upton put up?
What about his other two points?
yes the tandem of valbuena and aybar at 3rd and Brandon Phillips are way better than kinsler and cozart.
Monumental disaster. Their fans are in denial.
How is it a disaster? Your just a biased Rangers fan whos mad his team only landed mediocre pitchers in the offseason. Im not even an Angels fan but they did ok
I think that was sarcasm. Hard to tell on the internet.
I was waiting for your input
I hate to say it, but it is best Puk starts in AAA
Ohtani should start at AAA and the Angels should grab Alex Cobb, shouldn’t cost too much and more rotation depth is apparently a huge need for them.
Wouldn’t be a bad play at all for the Angels. That flexibility would be helpful for all parties and SO can tinker with his mechanics and get right so he can help the big league club. The pressure he’s under must be intense.
Oh yeah, the Angels won that sweepstakes.
It’s not like he’s costing them much. He’s making league minimum so if he’s a bust it’s not going to derail their plans for years like a bad free agent contract. Pujols is doing that just fine already.
He’s talking about the huge hype that surrounded Ohtani and all the supposed Angels fans crowing about signing him.
Pedro Cerrano's Voodoo
All of your comments thus far have offered nothing… no facts, not even intelligent speculation….just low brow criticism with absolutely nothing to back it up. We get it, you’re a rangers fan. We get it, you’re mad your team missed your window back in 2011 ish. Get tf over it.
Well most every team was clamoring to get him. They all had the same information. He could fail in both respects and still not be that costly for the angels. Sure sounds like fans of teams that didnt get him are waaaaay to happy to see him struggle. He could spend 2-3 years in minors then make it to the angels, contribute, and still have value.
And yet your team almost won those same sweepstakes. Hmmm…
Kinsler is on his last stretch of his career and Upton i consider in his prime. Will it be enough. Who knows. Its all a guessing game.
I’m soooo stoked that Ohtani sucks!
– salty Padres fan
Hosmer will provide plenty of suck for you guys.
That’s typical of someone from “Baja Los Angeles “.
Getting Alex Cobb would make sense right now for the angels , Ohtani needs some work down in triple A.
“Vogey deserves to be on this club,” said GM Jerry DiPoto. “He has raked from day one.”
No duh. Daniel Vogelbach has been raking it in the minor leagues for years now but no one gave him a chance in the majors. He’s only played 24 games in the past two years in the majors. He needs much more time than that in order to get adjusted to the majors..
It wasn’t his bat that kept him in the minors, it was his defense, though it’s orth noting he’s been far more aggressive this spring, showing a willingness to tap into that raw power without the fear of striking out–and the defense is much improved. And despite the more aggressive approach, he’s only struck out 8 times (10 walks).
He’s going to get that consistent playing time now.
Consistent in AAA, yes. Healy is back. There’s an outside chance Vogelbach makes it on the team as a backup first baseman, pinch hitter kind of thing on opening day. But that’s 80% uunlikely considering the M’s desire to run with an 8-man bullpen.
Houston We Have A Solution
Wasn’t it discovered after signing that ohtani had an injured ucl or something?
Sounds like it should be reevaluated immediately.
His velocity is fine and no injuries have been mentioned. If he had anything wrong they wouldnt be taking the chance considering all the problems they’ve had with pitchers.
Ohtani has said he has had more issues with the mound height and feel of the baseballs.
19ks in 8 innings says his stuff is fine