An interesting read made it’s way out recently from Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. Passan spoke to eight scouts about the offensive ability of Shohei Ohtani, and the feedback from them was less than positive.
“He’s basically like a high school hitter because he’s never seen a good curveball,” the scout said. “He’s seen fastballs and changeups. And you’re asking a high school hitter to jump to the major leagues?”
With any other player, the remedy is obvious: Allow him to prepare for what’s to come against lower-level players. With the Angels intent on winning this year, they could find themselves in something of a Catch-22 with Ohtani. His greatest gift – his right arm – might be the thing that prevents him from fulfilling his desire to be a true two-way player.
“You don’t learn on the job in the major leagues,” another scout said. “You can’t.”
This obviously casts a little bit of a shadow on the player dubbed as the number one prospect in baseball by many publications. Not to mention he recently got lit up in a minor league game to the tune of seven runs.
It will be interesting to see what Ohtani does at the plate this season. I would guess he ends up getting around 250 at bats, 7-10 home runs and an average around .240.
It’s going to take time for him to develop into an effective offensive player.