Angels star Shohei Ohtani, fresh off a dazzling Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018, met with reporters from the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo this week to reflect on his transition to the Major Leagues. Ohtani, who starred both on the mound and in the box, fielded a wide array of inquiries, including the inevitable comparison to two-way godfather Babe Ruth. Regarding his decision to undergo Tommy John surgery, the 23-year-old acknowledged his initial reservations, but said his recovery has thus far gone well: “It hasn’t quite been two months, but I haven’t had any problems in my daily life,” he said. “For the first month or so, I felt like I couldn’t use my right arm the way I wanted, but I don’t feel like there are any problems now.” The Japanese star, who chose the Angels after a lengthy courting process a year ago that included over half of the league’s teams, originally seemed most lauded for his abilities on the mound, where his 96.7 MPH average fastball velocity in ’18 ranked among the league’s best, but perhaps welcomed even more acolytes with his work at the plate this season: after all, his .285/.361/.564 (152 wRC+) line ranked as the fifth-best park-adjusted mark in the American League among all performers with at least 350 PA, and the lefty swinger destroyed right-handed pitching at an 82 percent above-league-average mark.
In other news from around the league . . .
- The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin takes care to note that the team’s designation for assignment of 1B/DH C.J. Cron was not financially motivated. Rather, says Topkin, the team hopes to upgrade at the position, and may be poised to do so “on a higher shelf than usual.” Cron, of course, was set to earn a projected $5.2MM in his second arbitration-eligible season in ’19, and hoped to build off a campaign that saw the righty slash .253/.323/.493, for a 122 wRC+. Unsteady performance in past seasons, though, has tempered optimism for the soon-to-be 29-year-old: Steamer, it should be noted, projects the former Angel to be just two percent above the league-average next season, which, with his limited defensive ability and a punitive positional adjustment, would place Cron right around replacement-level in the upcoming campaign. With their perennially limited monetary resources at hand, moving on from the 1B/DH seemed like a prudent move for the surging Rays.
- In a fascinating look into the inner workings of a team’s low-level acquisition substructure, James Fegan of The Athletic details the process by which the White Sox went about acquiring breakout catcher Omar Narvaez. A since-retired scout, it seems, saw just two Narvaez at-bats in the short-season New York-Penn League back in 2013, but his recommendation was enough to convince the ChiSox brass to nab the (at the time) 21-year-old in the minor league portion of the 2013 Rule V Draft. Narvaez’s proceeding output in the upper levels of Chicago’s system was mostly uninspiring, to say the least, but the now 26-year-old has found MLB pitching much more to his liking, posting a career 108 wRC+ over 734 PA since his debut in 2016, a mark well above the offensive baseline for his position. Steamer, likely citing the years of aforementioned ineptitude in the minors, remains unconvinced, pegging the backstop for a 93 wRC+ in ’19, though the lefty’s excellent plate discipline numbers (career 12.3% BB rate against just a 16.9% K rate) will certainly work in his favor moving forward.
Fake rookie of the year.
I just created an account to say that you’re clearly not a fan of the game if you think Ohtani wasn’t the clear RoY selection. Happy holidays!
Ahaha so butthurt
Name a better, more deserving rookie in the AL. You can’t.
How was Andujar not rookie of the year he was clearly the MVP of a 100 win team this year. I respect what Ohtani can do but Andujar deserved the ROY
Even Gardner had a better year than Andujar. He literally was the 7th best/most valuable position player they had this year. You trying to say he was MVP over Judge, Severino or Hicks? Laughable.
Not if you think defence matters
Andujar deserved ROY.
You’re just jellyous he’s not on your team.
Andujar? Seriously?!?! LOLOLOL!!!
Vlad will show Andujar how a rookie 3b wins ROY
Theres no more 2 way players to outshine him next year
Andujar was arguably the worst defensive player in the league this year. He had a pretty nice slash and power numbers but how you assume he was the MVP of the Yankees is beyond me.
Ohtani had the better WAR, and better OBP and slugging %. Plus he hit 22 home runs in 367 plate apperances. Oh yea, and he pitched 51 and two thirds innings of baseball. It wasn’t a bad 51 and two thirds innings of baseball either. Andujar is a great hitter, but Ohtani was better overall, and Miguel struggled in fielding.
Judge was hurt half the year
Severino was terrible for bout a month and a half
Hicks is a good argument but no he was nowhere near as clutch as Andujar
This is truly why analytics are not the tell all be all. I live in North Jersey and drive a truck and all day I listen to the NY sports radio. So all I hear is Yankee baseball and mind you every host on that station is a Met fan. So even the games I don’t watch I hear about. Andujar was far and away the MVP of that Yankee team.
@JTO . The ROY is not the MVP. Maybe you’re confused because they are spelled with letters.
WAR should be the gage of all MLB awards.
And media darling Ohtani didn’t play a single inning in the field so how is that comparable? you gave the award to a platoon DH
McKay might get to MLB next year if he breaks out. Not totally unfeasible situation. He’s a P/1B too, which is technically better than Ohtani being a DH-only.
….who platooned with himself as an ace-level SP for 50 innings, something never before done in MLB since your icon Babe Ruth. Ahahah so owned, he won an award over TWO of your guys and did things only the Babe did, your icon! In your face!!! Ohtani forever!!!
Andujar wasn’t even the best rookie on his own team. Torres had almost a full run higher WAR than Andujar. And yes defense is an important part of the game that Andujar was the worst in the league at. And what does listening to sport talk radio have to do with being able to judge who is rookie of the year? That’s just silly…
Don’t forget Ohtani’s WHIP was better than Overhaul, er’ Andlhar.
So the pitcher isn’t on the field and doesn’t play defense? Who do they give the pitchers gold glove to every year? Ohtani had better stats while trying to go both ways on the diamond. Andujar had a great year also. Could have gone either way,
Andujar’s clutch rating for the year was -0.18.
Ironically, Torres’ clutch was 2.28. In other words “clutch” is a) misrepresented in the media, and b) not the best argument to settle a who should’ve won ROY debate. total value is simply much more reliable.
For whatever it’s worth, the Yankees offensive clutch score was -1.67, which provides us with a nice glimpse into how they underperformed their baseruns record (yes, they should’ve won more than 100 games).
Anyways, sports broadcast radio is entertaining but they will not give you the full story. Yes, Andujar got hot when Judge went down, and that is a perfect narrative for radio, esp “Mets fans” delivering Yankees news.
But parsed out, over the season, Andujar was, in fact, basically a wash in terms of value in high leverage at bats. And by the time Judge went down, the yankees had almost already punched their ticket to the playoffs.
However, at the end of the day, the people acting like Andujar was an unworthy choice for ROY, that’s just silly. Yes, his defense was atrocious and should exile him to the other side of the diamond (1B) but he was absolutley a worthy choice, which is why he came in second, because Ohtani was simply in an absurdly different class. What Ohtani did, before this season was almost unfathomable…even after he’s done it it still seems unfathomable. As a former tommy john recipient, myself, i hope he heals well.
It’s clear from the context what the poster meant by “jellyous”. He clearly meant “gelatinous”. Sheesh, Grammar Police.
True. How can you mention defense when O doesn’t play defense?
In what work did Gardner have a better season? You can’t be serious
Pitchers also play defense. No one should’ve had to tell you this.
Why because his team won 100 games he gets rookie if the year? Sorry that is not relevant to who is ROY
Ace of Diamonds
Zero defense is better than negative defense. He did play some defense as a Pitcher.
Honestly you could make and a legitimate argument for andujar. Couldnt go wrong with either of them winning the award.
Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, Joey Wendle, that’s just a few. They at least played most of the season at high level unlike him.
And yet Ohtani won in a landslide. Maybe, just maybe, you’re wrong. Ohtani had the best season of them all and rightfully won.
Stop embarrassing yourself
If he hadn’t been injured Ohtani might have deserved it. But he was a pretty good pitcher in 10 starts (hard to judge someone in that small a sample size) and a very good hitter for 3/5 of a season.
He was not spectacular on either side, he won ROY simply for the novelty of being a 2-way player. He was not the best rookie, though. Andujar had nearly twice the WAR ohtani did, and that was as a hitter alone.
Additionally, hard to even consider him a true 2-way player with just 10 starts and 104 games as a hitter.
“Andujar had nearly twice the WAR ohtani did, and that was as a hitter alone.”
What stat are you looking at?
Andujar: 2.2 bWAR, 2.7 fWAR
Ohtani: 3.9 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR
Clearly something else, my mistake. My point still stands.
No, it really doesn’t.
It doesn’t stand. That’s the point.
When you argue using a statistic that isn’t true, then, no, your point doesn’t stand. If you want to argue that Andujar deserves ROY, using WAR isn’t going to help your argument.
No your point was just shown to be flawed. You admit its a mistake but then try to argue that your point stands? No it does not stand.
Ohtani was the better hitter than Andujar, and honestly it wasn’t that close. Andujar also is one of the worst defensive players in the league, so it doesn’t matter that Ohtani dh’d. And the pitching is just gravy to make him the ROY by a wide margin.
You say he was not spectacular on either side, yet he was literally the 5th best hitter (152 wRC+) in the American League (min 350 PA), and the 13th best pitcher in the AL (85 FIP-). In the American league he trailed only Chris Sale in inducing swinging strikes. If you count his PAs and the batters he faced while on the mound, he tallied 578 PA so to speak. We may be at the point where we just think so differently about this scenario that we won’t reach a common ground. But i will say that I don’t understand how anyone could say ohtani wasn’t a super star on both sides of the ball, even if it was an abbreviated season.
I don’t like either teams and ohtani deserved it. Plain and simple. People will remember who he is for years to come, Andujar is gonna get lost in the Yankees lineup if he isn’t traded for a tor pitcher.
Ace of Diamonds
butthurt are you?
I watched all of Ohtani games and he is truly gifted. Proved at end of year he can hit lefties, Just hope Ausmus smart enough to sit Albert and let Ohtani DH.
The most deserving Rookie of the Year in history.
Joey Wendle was ripped off though — he should have been a very distant 2nd place.
I get that you feel he deserved it but MOST? Please review some rookie of the year winners. TOny Olivo hit .323 with 32 HR and 94 RBI. Fred Lynn hit .337 with 105RBI. Mike Fidrych went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and TWENTY FOUR COMPLETE GAMES. Ichiro Suzuki hit .350.
And Ohtani’s teammate Mike Trout? .326, 30HR, 49 SB., and led the league in runs scored with 129. He came in 2nd for the MVP. was an all-star, and won the silver slugger award. He had an 8.7 WAR.
Ohtani meanwhile couldn’t start more than 10 games, got injured, and hit .285. Not bad, and if you think he deserved it, that’s fine, but let’s not be stupid with the hyperbole.
Ohtani joined all-time MLB records lists where the only other player is Babe Ruth. He’s beyond what Trout is because he’s very good at pitching too.
So if you were building a team from scratch and could have any player you want, you’d choose Ohtani over Trout?
The flexibility Ohtani brings the roster, he is an excellent pitcher and an excellent hitter, is uncharted territory. Given a full season, his combined pitcher + hitter WAR would’ve been around 7. If his arm is healthy, maybe more! Mike Trout is still better (pencil him in for 9 WAR – that’s crazy), but Ohtani is younger, Trout can’t pitch, and Ohtani has 5 years of team control left. This is a tough question.
I liked how Paul Heyman responded right after this thread
I guess the Rays are getting primed to sign a Nelson Cruz, Evan Gattis, or another DH guy.
See this is what I just don’t understand about the Rays. They cut a cheap, above-average player in their prime to go fishing for a someone who is probably older,worse, and might be more expensive.
Nelson Cruz’ track record as a hitter is significantly longer than CJ Cron’s
I agree with SuperSinker. However, Michael, once Jake Bauers came up Cron saw more time at DH only than at 1B. Plus Cron disappeared for large chunks of the season (not to say Bauers didn’t) but JB’s offense should come back AND he can play corner outfield slots as well. Cron is DH or 1B only and only when certain matchups present. Good move by Rays.
I agree, Though Cruz , Goldschmit, Donaldson are upgrades However, the Rays have a lot of competition for them and I can’t remember the Rays winning a bidding war before, Anyone? Gattis is terrible and not an ugrade from Cron at all. I’m hoping for W Ramos as a RH DH or possibly they get Cron back at a lower pay rate?
Matt although I do agree with Wilson Ramos as a RH DH, I think he latches on elsewhere as a catcher instead. I also like the idea of them getting Cron back at a decent price too.
LOL. Why the hell would the Rays spend 5 mill on a player who may not even make the roster? This is common sense. Something a lot of fans like you don’t have.
Also Cruz is a way better hitter making that comparison is embarrassing
The Rays outbid several teams to get signing rights to Iwamura in 2007. I don’t know how much of a war there was, but the Rays did sign Wilson Ramos and others like Eovaldi, Colby Rasmus and so on. They have never been in on the highest profile free agents, but do scavenge for talent.
He would’ve made the roster and been motivated to compete with his Rays teamates again. Stats are just 1 part of analyzing a player (Crons are not to bad). We end up with Cruz and hell fall asleep in the Trop everynight!
Thank you buddaley for your rebuttal. As you/I go through the Rays 20 year history they never went into a bidding war. As for Wilson and Eovaldi they were the first team to (as the Rays usually are) sign injured players initially to play when healed a year or 2 after. No other team was offering those players contracts of any kind at the time. Though we won the AL Championship with. Iwamura, He was no Tanaka and a clear risk he would be a good player in MLB which he was. Safe to say the Rays never got into a bidding war, Will this be a first? They have the money, but will they put it on 1 player?
Cj Cron has been a consistent hitter for most of his career. I can understand the Rays wanting something better for the money, but how much does a guy like Cruz or Donaldson have left in the tank. Signing Carlos Gomez for example was a disaster. I appreciate your feedback.
I agree Talarico and despite what the stat critics say Cron was very competitive in the Rays line-up night after night. He also has upside being young! Now that the deed is done and Cron is gone who does our smart FO have on their mind? I believe like you that Cruz is finished and will not care to play for the Rays….Donaldson knows the Rays with playing us so much and has it in him to come back at 32, How much $ though? Goldschmidt is a Tampa dream catch that usually ends up just a dream. Anyhow the FO is confident of acquiring someone, i don’t know who but probably not the above mentioned.
Yeah projected to hit 40 hr’s absolutely finished. You know nothing about baseball
“Consistent hitter” learn something about baseball. 1B/DH who strike out a ton and don’t get on base aren’t very valuable
Watch a few game Jordmac and you might know something. Cruz is only a DH now that can hit and his hitting has shown decline the last 2 years. For what money??? As for stats, Cron was a 986 defensive 1st baseman along with a 325 OBP with above 250 average. When watching games he made contact 1/2 the times with players on base and i never seen him make a drastic error. So he does more than you mention. As for Cruz he’ll waste away and not care on the Rays like his peers Miguel Cabrea, Albert Puhols, Ryan Howard and many others his age.
Dazzling-yawn. This gimmick will continue to be injury prone and then bounce around the league before eventually heading back to Japan.
Stop embarrassing yourself.
and yet if he was on the Yankees, you’d already would have finished your full Ruth/Ohtani back tattoo by now. Crybaby Yankees fans are literally ruining these comment threads, ban them all.
Dodger fans too!
How are people dense enough to think Ohtani is only a gimmick. Not only was he the best rookie hitter of his class, but he showed he can also be a top of the rotation pitcher as well. I guess when he chooses someone else’s team over yours though all logic and intelligence goes out the window.
It’s just petty Yankee fans who are mad that he dissed them to sign with the Angels.
Cron is gonna go to Minnesota
Tampa will sign Cruz
Yankee fans still bitter Ohtani didn’t choose them. ROY has nothing to do with wins like it does with the MVP. Great offensive numbers to go with great pitching number. Oh and highest WAR.
Highest WAR gets it, bingo. Now can everyone get on board with this basic concept? WAR isn’t even some complicated metric, its a gd counting stat.
According to an article by MLBTR recently, the formula for WAR is “(Batting Runs + Base Running Runs + Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment + Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)” which hardly qualifies as a counting stat. Later in the same article, it says Batting Runs = wRAA + (lgR/PA – (PF*lgR/PA))*PA + (lgR/PA – (AL or NL non-pitcher wRC/PA))*PA
Might be a counting stat if you have a PhD in calculus.
Considering you can get two different WAR numbers based on bWAR or fWAR would have to state otherwise. It’s a good tool to use but you certainly shouldn’t just go picking the player with the highest WAR every year and think you’ve done a great job. You too think ohtani should’ve won but his FWAR would’ve placed him behind Wendle.
Wendle had 3.7 Ohtani had 3.8 fWAR, fake news.
Still not a counting stat.
bWAR. 4.3 wendle 3.9 ohtani?
bWAR: Ohtani: 5.1. 3.9 hitting, 1.2 pitching.
The definition of WAR is not even agreed upon. It is not an important stat as the definition of WAR is easily manipulated depending on which version you cherry pick from.
Yes, there can’;t be legit disagreements and debate, it HAS to be jealousy! You sound jealous of Yankee fans, actually…
I’d rather watch paint dry than be a Yankees fan
I am not a Yankee fan and I am not saying what Ohtani did was not impressive but at the end of the day he didn’t play enough and where I can understand ROY bein an accumulative award I can’t discredit the amount of responsibility Andujar displayed by carrying a 100 win team when their superstars were injured ( Judge, Sanchez, Chapman) or underperforming (Stanton, Severino)
If Ohtani stayed healthy I would say he was ROY
Mookie Betts didn’t play an entire season. He missed 30 games. Does that mean he doesn’t deserve the MVP?
I could see the Phillies and Rays getting together for a Santana trade. Phils cover 40% to 60% of the contract and get OK value in return (younger bullpen piece for example). The Rays would only have a two year contract to worry about at a reduced rate. Unlike Cruz however Santana can still play okay defense while putting up a (somewhat) similar power profile.
If the Phillies cover 40% of 35 million that’s at minimum 14 million bucks. You better get more than a decent young reliever for that sum of cash for a still productive player. Albeit one who doesn’t fit in philly.
Rays going higher shelf for a 1B? Dealing for Goldschmidt?
Nah, Rays won’t pay the asking price for one year of Goldy.
Apart from the Rays have expendable prospects who won’t get a chance here and would beat other teams offers
Ohtani is the man!
Ohtani getting hurt was bad for the game. We need a real draw like he represented as the first guy since Ruth to do what he was doing. In fact this game really needs a Babe Ruth, a guy who goes beyond the usual confines of the sport. That’s why everyone was so excited in april this year and it’s disappointing that he will be limited to hitting next year.
Oh yeah, Ohtani showed up in MLB and promptly needed TJ surgery. But sure, he’s Babe Ruth reincarnated.
I honestly think part of this post is garbage. They said that the reason C.J. Cron was designated was not “financially motivated”. I highly doubt that since they dumped Corey Dickerson last season and he was only making 4 million. Rays and there ownership are cheap, they need t move to a better market.
Maybe you should do some research then
Ohtani did nothing more than what a national league pitcher does year after year I’m not sure how that makes him a two way player can anybody help me understand that.
Ohtani had 367 plate appearances and 22 homers. Show me a national league pitcher who comes close to either of those stats.
I was saying ohtani pitches and bats. He doesn’t play the field
If he could frame a pitch well, Narvaez would be the best catcher in the AL.