Yeah, this post is dedicated to all the people that told me Ohtani would never amount to nothing, to all the people who called me crazy for my enthusiasm, when I was just trying to inform my readers, and all the prospectors in the struggle. You know what I’m saying? And it’s all good Grey-be, Grey-be. It was all a Dream, I watched NPB games on the TV screen, upper-90’s velo, nasty split, mechanics clean. Worried about hanging breaking balls. Every spring training start he got mauled. I let the hype pop, until the hype dropped. Smoking weed in the draft room, laughing as lesser Perts talk. Way back when the humidor was supposed to cutback. Enough of that…

Okay, so obviously I’m excited about Ohtani, I’ve been writing about him for two years, and yesterday he made his debut. It’s was glorious, actually glorious is a little strong, it was more good. But I’ll take good. Here’s what I saw on Sunday.

Scouting Report: Due to my extensive writing on Ohtani, it seems only right to go back to my Angels preview from a month or so back for scouting info. Here’s what I said there, “The man, the myth, the legend, quite literally. I’m not that comfortable ranking Ohtani amongst a bunch of prospects, but technically he’s under his rookie limits, and is just 23. We should all be well aware of the type of talent Ohtani is, particularly as a pitcher. He possesses a fastball that sits mid to upper-90’s with the ability to bang triple digits. There have been a lot of reports knocking the fastball for being straight, but the velocity should be enough to miss bats. His split-finger, or what he calls his forkball is a nasty pitch, with the ability to get swings and misses, and hit his spots when needed. I love his forkball. The rest of his pitching arsenal is comprised of a slider that flashes plus, a curveball, and a changeup. At the plate Ohtani is a power hitter, hitting .322 with 22 homers, and a 1.004 OPS DHing on his off-days from pitching in 2016. He offers 60 grade power with 60 grade speed, and an average hit tool. If it all clicks on both sides of the ball Ohtani could be fantastic. I’m skeptical of him reaching his somewhat mythical ceiling due to some of the injury concerns that have popped up over the last 18 months. He was limited to just 5 starts and 65 games as a hitter in 2017 due to an ankle injury. News of a grade 1 sprain in his right elbow was revealed a few days after signing. Trepidation aside, this is an elite talent, perhaps generational. Also, here’s Grey’s Shohei Ohtani fantasy.” BTW Grey has poor hygiene.

Shohei Ohtani vs. The Oakland Athletics, April 1st, 2018 @ Oakland Coliseum

First Inning

Stats: 3 batters faced, no hits, no runs, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 14 pitches.

Summary: Ohtani started Marcus Semien off with a FB at 96, followed by a slider at 82, for a swinging strike, before setting him up with a splitter outside the zone for a swinging strike three.

Gets a swinging strike on a high 98 MPH fastball from Jed Lowrie. Worked Lowrie up in the zone with upper-90’s velocity before inducing a pop-up with a fastball. Pops 100 on the first pitch to Olson, followed by a splitter for a strike, before getting a swinging strike from Olson on a nasty splitter to end the inning.

Second Inning

Stats: 6 batters faced, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 HR, 1 K, 0 BB, 19 pitches.

Summary: Inning starts off with Ohtani getting up on Khris Davis 0-2 before dropping a nasty slider high in the zone for a swinging strike three.

Next batter Matt Joyce hit a 98 MPH fastball middle-middle for the first hit off Ohtani, the next batter Stephen Piscotty got down 1-2 before hitting a low 100 MPH fastball to right. Nice piece of hitting by Piscotty. The next batter Matt Chapman falls behind 0-1 before hitting a low slider on the outer part of the plate out to deep left for a three run homer.

Ohtani then settled down to end the inning on back to back groundouts.

Third Inning

Stats: 3 batters faced, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 K, 0 BB, 12 pitches.

Summary: A nice bounce-back inning after the three run shot in the third, Ohtani gets back to back ground outs from Semien and Lowrie, before striking out Matt Olson on two consecutive 99 MPH fastballs he couldn’t touch, before dropping that nasty splitter again.

Fourth Inning

Stats: 4 batters faced, 0 hits, 0 runs , 1 K, 1 BB, 23 pitches.

Summary: Another strong inning from Ohtani as he starts the inning with a popup from Khris Davis, before issuing a walk to Matt Joyce, which he followed up with a fly out to Piscotty, before getting Matt Chapman on a swinging strike three to end the inning. Nibbled a little more this inning, and does have a tendency to overthrow.

Fifth Inning

Stats: 3 batters faced, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 K, 0 BB, 16 pitches.

Summary: 3 up and 3 down, as Ohtani gets a flyout from Jonathan Lucroy, followed by a groundout from Boog Powell, before getting Marcus Semien to strikeout swinging to end the inning. This splitter is nasty!

Sixth Inning

Stats: 3 batters faced, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 K, 0 BB, 12 pitches

Summary: In Ohtani’s final inning of work, he sits down the side in order once again, getting a ground out from Lowrie, a flyout from Matt Olson, and a popup from Khris Davis to short.

Final Line: 96 Pitches, 63 Strikes, 18 swinging strikes, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 HR, 1 BB, 6 Ks, Win, Gamescore: 59

Conclusion: In closing it was a very strong debut from Ohtani, as he mixed speeds and changed eye-levels effectively. He was pretty much fastball, slider, splitter today, with each pitch showing good feel. The splitter is devastating, and was consistently a put out pitch. His slider was landing high and low in the zone, as was his fastball. He generated mostly groundballs, which with the Angels infield defense is a very good match. Velocity sat 97-99 mostly, bottoming out at 96, and topping out at 100, which he hit multiple times. His average fastball velocity was 97.8 MPH, which is harder than Noah Syndergaard’s average velocity in his debut.  The splitter generated 5 of his 18 swinging strikes.

Based on some of the command issues with the fastball and slider, he might struggle against more patient lineups, but when he does miss, it’s rarely in the zone. Conclusion… Ohhh, dat boy good!

  1. Member Berries says:
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    I liked the intro and appreciate the wrote up with the GIfs

    Have zero shares of Ohtani as he seemed to risky to pay full price but he looks every bit as filthy as you had described.

  2. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    ‘Smokin in the boys room” has been upgraded, to, smokin in the draft room!

    Nice right up, I still think Otani will just be an avg. MLBer..

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Thanks? But why? Agree to disagree, he’s the truth. There’s even little things he does, like adjust his leg kick with runners on, he always flashes a split-finger grip, and then changes it in his glove, he fields his position well. I think he’s going to be great, not just good.

      He did that in his first MLB start at 23. Pretty good..

      • Joe West Young Man! says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        I noticed him flashing that splitter grip! I like it!

      • Joe West Young Man! says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:

        I noticed him flashing that splitter grip! I like it!

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz:
        No real proof, just a gut feeling. I hope I am wrong, as Otani being great is great for baseball.

  3. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    right of course is write of course..

  4. Joel says:
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    Cool. I dropped my bench Jake Lamb and grabbed Ohtani off waivers. I think I got away with a good one.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Joel: Nice!

  5. J. Smooth says:
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    Ohtani v As or Nola at Mets? Mets bats looked good against the best the Cards had to offer.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @J. Smooth: I’d likely go Ohtani, mostly because Nola might throw like 3 innings. :)

  6. Thanks for this as I am an owner but live on the east coast and did not get to see any of this game. Looks good to me! He’ll have his bumps, but he COULD be as good or better than Darvish. No?

    Glad I was able to get him in like rd 11. Figured he had more potential than the Gio Gonzalez’s and Taijuan Walkers’ that were going around that point in my draft.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Whatelse: I do think he can be better than Darvish. Stuff is every bit as good.

      Nice! I took him earlier in draft season before the ST starts. So the price was higher. Doesn’t bother me though.

  7. OaktownSteve says:
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    Pretty much agree except I did not think he had great feel for the slider. He had a tendency to come around it and get a back up action sometimes and get a flat spinner other times. Other times he did tug it a little more and get the sharper break with some downward action. He will hang some as he did to Chapman. But that pitch looked to me like he tried to do some different things with it with varying results.

    The only other nitpick is that the fastball is pretty straight. He sometimes comes pretty straight over the top which gives the pitch a good, hard downward plane but it’s straight.

    The veil is legit. Looks like there’s some pitch ability in there too.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @OaktownSteve: I think there’s inconsistency with the slider, but he dropped a few that were pin-point. He tends to overthrow a little, but he mostly missed outside the zone. That Chapman pitch was tolerable because it was lower and on the outer part of the plate. He made Khris look dumb on that high slider just above the zone. There’s command issues at times for sure. But he seems to manipulate spin really well.

  8. Slimcompoop says:
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    Tyler O’Neill!

    • Slimcompoop says:
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      @Slimcompoop: What’s good Ralph? What side would you want in a 12-team keeper league…Ohtani OR Sonny Gray and Mitch Haniger?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Slimcompoop: What happened with O’Neill? Haha

  9. Fantasy phein says:
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    QS LGE. Back end starter who ya like mike minor, Trevor Williams, Skaggs?? Thx

  10. Swfcdan says:
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    Saw the debut too and was damn impressed. Kid throws much harder than you’d expect with dat skinny build!

    Went a bit nuts after and offered this in 16 tm dynasty as I don’t own him in either league:
    Mookie and L Hendricks (throw in, do count holds) for Otani and Ozuna.

    But got shot down! And actually seems it isn’t enough, which pitcher would you be willing to raise to instead of Hendricks to make it happen:

    AJ Ramos, Matz, S Greene, D Duffy, Pomeranz, G Holland, M Clevinger (Clevelander?)

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Swfcdan: Damn you got lucky. Hold Mookie please!

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: haha damn, would offering Goldy over Mookie make any difference? Bidding on Goldy too was a bad mistake, was before the Humidor news and now I’m getting nervous he won’t be “Goldy”any more! Dynasty so big age difference also matters.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Swfcdan: I’d be more willing to do that, but I think the data analysis of the humidor was half-assed. There were several factors that they didn’t include in their analysis. Plus Derek Carty looking like an asshat is like a hug from Jesus.

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: And why was there no analysis on his hitting too! We demand Otani hitting analysis next week! haha. Kid makes for such a good story, he’ll be box office even if his hitting is Fatt Adams [email protected]Ralph Lifshitz:

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph says:
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          @Swfcdan: Oh I talked all about his hitting, it’s even in the above scouting report! Haha!

  11. JP says:
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    Ralph-I know where you have these guys ranked but who would you choose in a dynasty league no contracts and no time frame for a player to get to the majors. It is a 6×6 roto. Tristan Lutz, Nolan Jones, or nick Prato? Thanks

    • JP says:
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      @JP: who is your personal favorite?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @JP: Lutz by far. I love that kid!

        • JP says:
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          @Ralph Lifshitz: lutz over Austin Beck also Ralph?

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @JP: I would personally, but it’s a tough call. Beck has the higher upside, but IMO Lutz is a more talented hitter.

  12. thorbs says:
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    Can’t remember the last time I’ve been as excited to watch a pitcher toe the rubber! Great writeup!

    Unrelated prospect Q – in a 12-team dynasty, I hung onto Dustin Fowler, but managed to scoop up Nate Pearson in our first-year draft (my other minor leaguers are Robles, Verdugo, Maitan, Riley, Marsh, Stewart, Duplantier and Pearson).

    With only one bench bat at the moment (I like to draft a heap of arms to see if any stick), he’s pretty droppable until he shows something in the minors, no?

    • thorbs says:
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      @thorbs: FWIW I’d be looking to pick up Eduardo Escobar, and Tapia is on the wire for an idea of the quality of prospects that are free agents.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @thorbs: Oh, yeah Boog Powell and his golf grip is playing over him.

      Fowler needs some time.

  13. Alex says:
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    Drop Gausman to stream pitchers during the year?

    16 team league

    • Alex says:
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      @Alex:
      It’s a H2H league have 8 starters currently

    • Alex says:
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      @Alex:
      It’s a H2H league have 8 starters currently

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Alex: Hold.

  14. your mom says:
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    Hi. 20 team keeper

    Blackmon/cano or kluber/dee

    Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @your mom: Blackmon side.

  15. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    12 team Roto 6×6 (BB and HDS) How do you like this team?
    Boxburger is on the wire (we use weekly bids that close Sunday) Drop anyone for him and bid how much ($200 for the year)

    C Chris Iannetta, Col C S
    1B Freddie Freeman, Atl 1B
    2B Chris Taylor, LAD 2B, OF
    3B Kris Bryant, ChC 3B
    SS Jean Segura, Sea SS
    2B/SS Tim Anderson, CWS SS
    1B/3B Anthony Rendon, Wsh 3B
    OF Marcell Ozuna, StL OF
    OF Lorenzo Cain, Mil OF
    OF Jose Martinez, StL 1B, OF
    OF Michael A. Taylor, Wsh OF
    UTIL Shin-Soo Choo, Tex OF, DH S
    P Alex Wood, LAD SP
    P Blake Treinen, Oak RP
    P Charlie Morton, Hou SP
    P Chris Devenski, Hou RP
    P Chad Green, NYY RP
    P Patrick Corbin, Ari SP
    P Juan Nicasio, Sea RP
    SP Yu Darvish, ChC SP
    RP Raisel Iglesias, Cin RP
    Bench Shohei Ohtani, LAA SP, DH
    Bench Sonny Gray, NYY SP

  16. Rob says:
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    Good shit commish. Got him in 3 leagues let’s gooo

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Rob: Let’s go!

  17. Milarky says:
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    Hey Ralph, sorry to keep bugging you on this, but are you still planning on doing a top rookies for 2018 post? Our draft is coming up this weekend (I know, way late) and we have a rookie hitter and pitcher spot in our starting lineups, so some of your keen insight will be key for me!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Milarky: Yeah, I’ll bust one out for you.

  18. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    How high do we sell on him after tonight? Wow!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph says:
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      @I’m Keith Hernandez: I ain’t selling! Unless, you feel you’re getting a deal!

  19. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    Where do you rank Ohtani now? – Jesus he might be the most fun fantasy player I’ve ever had! Glad as hell I didn’t sell high!

Comments are closed.