There has been one huge story running since the start of the MLB offseason and that is the race to land Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. After much deliberation, Ohtani finally chose to sign with the Angels and they have beaten off many other clubs to land his signature. This is a huge statement for the Angels and one they need to use going into next season as a platform to build on. Ohtani has the potential to make a huge difference to the franchise and all eyes will be on him and the Angels to see how the kick off the 2018 campaign.
The 23-year-old is already a huge star and this move to the Angels will only put a further spotlight on his career. Known as ‘Japan’s Babe Ruth’ for his two-way skills, he is a very valuable player and can be used in many situations. That is why so many clubs were after him, with the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Padres, Mariners, and Rangers all in contention before Ohtani decided to side with the Angles.
The Angels will have to pay a posting fee to the Nippon Ham Fighters, thought to be $20 million, but they will save more than that on his salary, due to him signing a minor league contract. Ohtani may receive up to $2.3 million in international bonus money but that is incredibly low for a man of his talent and that makes him exceptional value.
One thing that has been brought into question is Ohtani’s injury problems, with both ankle and thigh injuries slowing him down earlier this season. That is not ideal but those injuries were reportedly just minor and, of course, the Angles will have given him a full medical before agreeing to the deal to sign him.
Ohtani scored just eight home runs in the 2017 season, from 65 games played. That is perhaps a little underwhelming for someone rated so highly by the teams in the MLB but it is what we have seen from him in the past that excites so many General Managers out there. In the 2016 season, he scored 22 home runs and that was when he really came to life. Should he replicate that, then the Angles have got themselves one hell of a player from the get-go.
It isn’t just with the bat where Ohtani excels, he set the record for recording the fastest pitch in the history of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The pitch was recorded in 2016 and went down in history as 164kph (101.9mph). At the time, he actually beat his own record and had been close on a number of occasions, just going to show that he can be a dangerous player with both the ball and bat in his hand.
The Angels are going to be a lot more popular with the bookmakers than they were a few days ago, thanks to this signing, but, if you still don’t think they’re worth the risk, punters can play with the many free bet offers at Oddschecker. You can use these to place your long-term bets on who will win the MLB, choosing to back the Angels if you think Ohtani is going to have the desired effect in LA.
If you believe the hype, then Ohtani is going to turn this club into one that challenges, after missing the playoffs during the 2017 season. That will be a big turnaround in such a short space of time but it highlights just how highly Ohtani is thought of and how big people think he can be for the Angels this coming season.
The MLB could have a new star on their hands in Shohei Ohtani and a lot of focus will be on him at the start of the 2018 season. Everyone wants to watch him play, just like how everyone wanted to sign him during the offseason, but that luxury has fallen the way of the LA Angels. The Angels finished outside of the playoffs in 2017 but, with Ohtani on board, they have an excellent chance to correct that and challenge for the MLB World Series.