Shohei Ohtani is proving that he is exactly what the Angels needed

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 08: Shohei Ohtani (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 08: Shohei Ohtani (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Shohei Ohtani has not just been good this season, he has been otherworldly. What Ohtani is bringing to the Angels is special and is exactly what was needed.

The Los Angeles Angels have played 10 games already this MLB season, over six percent of the full 162-game MLB season. In those ten games, the Angels have seen Shohei Ohtani win two games. Both were quality starts. Thirteen innings between the two starts, 18 strikeouts and three runs allowed. Ohtani has been perfect aside from a three-run Matt Chapman home run.

Granted, he faced the Oakland Athletics both times, but that is still a feat in upon itself.

It does not stop there, though. Ohtani has also played a role offensively, something not many expected after a rough Spring Training at the plate. Ohtani is hitting .389 on the young season — 7-18 — with three home runs and seven RBIs. While it is a very small sample size, this is exactly the start Ohtani needed to his MLB career.

And he is continuing to prove why he is exactly what the Los Angeles Angels needed.

Chances are that Ohtani is not going to keep up these averages. The chances are that he will be a 40 home run guy and a sub-two ERA guy, especially in the American League, are slim. While he may get close later in his career, his rookie ERA will likely float around 3.00-3.50 and he will slug 20-25 home runs.

That is still obviously impressive. But even if Ohtani cannot bring that to the table, even if the workload does get to him, causing a hitting slump, the impact he has had not only on the team but the organization is tremendous.

Even if he ends up just being a really good hitting pitcher down the line, Ohtani is special. He is bringing widespread attention to the Angels, something even two-time MVP Mike Trout has failed to do.

He is the superstar in the making for the Angels. The marketing machine. The guy that caused the Angels to go out and get Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler while re-signing Justin Upton. While Trout is undoubtedly the best player in baseball, he has not had the same results. The Angels have not won a playoff game since 2009.

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In the midst of a five-year stretch in which the Los Angeles Dodgers have won five consecutive NL West Titles, Trout and the Angels have taken a back seat. An MLB-best 98 wins meant nothing in 2014. The Angels still got swept by the Kansas City Royals in three games. The mainstream media continued to forget about them.

Shohei Ohtani is about as mainstream as he gets. Not only is he bringing a huge following from Japan, he is the MLB’s unicorn. Baseball has not seen a guy like this since Babe Ruth. We all got excited when Madison Bumgarner slugged four home runs in 2014, five in 2015 and three in 2016 and 2017. Ohtani has slugged three in ten games.

Shohei Ohtani is making the Angels the most relevant they have been since defeating the Barry Bonds led San Francisco Giants in the 2002 World Series. And while this may be an overreaction after 10 games, the Shohei Ohtani affect is evident.

For transparency’s sake, I am a Dodger fan. I turned off a 1-0 rivalry game against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday to watch Shohei Ohtani attempt the impossible and throw a perfect game. This guy is special.

The Angels now have leverage with Mike Trout; who many assumed to be leaving the Angels once his contract ended in 2020. If Ohtani continues to thrive, it is going to be hard for Trout to walk away. With the Angels also building a respectable farm system once more, the future is bright.

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During the offseason, I claimed that the moves the Angels were making were an all-in on 2018; the bats of Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton and Zack Cozart were a huge risk. Even if it doesn’t lead to a ring this season, the Angels are set up just nicely for the future. All because of Shohei Ohtani.