Shohei Ohtani is one of the best prospects to ever head to MLB by way of Japan.
The 23-year-old has a fastball that tops out at 102mph and a sweet left-handed swing producing big power. Ohtani was introduced Saturday as the newest member of the Los Angeles Angels, the MLB team he chose over several suitors.
When Ohtani decided to play in MLB, it was rumoured he wanted to play both ways and whichever team gave him the chance to do so would be his preferred landing spot. The question remained though whether any team would be gutsy enough to attempt to use him both as a pitcher and a hitter.
"We definitely plan on him being a two-way player, there's no doubt about that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said during Ohtani's introductory press conference.
When Ohtani was asked what he would like to do first – hit a home run or record a win as a pitcher – his response was apt.
"Hopefully, if I can pull it off, maybe both in one game," said Ohtani, who added he hopes to "bring a championship to Anaheim".
Scioscia was very clear in saying the team have nothing set in stone as to exactly how they will use him. It will be a transition for Ohtani both on the mound and in the batter's box after playing in the Nippon Professional Baseball.
Pitchers pitch every seven days in Japan, so that will be an adjustment for Ohtani. Stadiums are often smaller as well, so that could have an effect as he moves to MLB.
Whatever the Angels do with the 23-year-old, he will be a sensation as soon as he starts playing, but his new team want to make sure he is handled correctly.
"I don't think we've seen a pitcher of his calibre come here into our organisation for a long time, and that's going to be as important as it is no matter what he can do in the batter's box," Scioscia said. "So we will definitely figure things out this winter as we get more information and get him ready for the spring and ultimately ready for the start of next year."
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