There is no question that Shohei Ohtani has tremendous talent, and this first week in the MLB has been incredibly encouraging for the Los Angeles Angels. While this first week has been great, there will definitely be ebbs and flows. Not even one week before Opening Day, there were numerous articles that circulated asking the question “Should Ohtani start the season in the Minors?” That was not going to ever realistically happen. However, it is certain that Ohtani will not produce at the same rate that he did during this first week for the rest of the season.
The Los Angeles Angels (formerly of Anaheim) have struggled since 2012, with the exception of the 2015 season. They are similar to the New York Mets. Both teams are in major media markets, but they both play second fiddle to other teams, the Yankees and Dodgers. Shohei Ohtani brought the Los Angeles Angles to the front of a media frenzy in Los Angeles. This led to hundreds of media outlets covering Ohtani’s every move in spring training and it was all criticized.
This was all unfair criticism, but it is always a better news story to push than the fact that this is a new player having to learn a new culture, language, and league. Not only that, but Ohtani also had to pull double duty as a pitcher and hitter. That means double the workouts, double the film study, and double the meetings. No other player in all of baseball has to do what Ohtani has had to do over the past few months. There is definitely the argument of “He has been doing this all of his life in Japan. This is nothing new to him.” This is true, but even the second best baseball league, Nippon Professional Baseball, is nothing compared to the difficulty of the MLB.
There will be times during the course of this season that Ohtani will play as he did during spring training. He will constantly be working on things similarly to the things he worked on during spring training. He will have rough outings that will have many media members questioning his ability to perform at the major league level. He will have fantastic outings that will have every media member gushing about how talented he can be in the MLB. He just needs time to develop into the potential two-way superstar.
There will be no shortage of stories about Shohei Ohtani this year. However, the story of the Los Angeles Angels should revolve around the best player in baseball. Mike Trout is still the best player in all of baseball, and Albert Pujols should reach 3000 hits before the end of May. When it comes to Shohei Ohtani, he will be just fine if the major media outlets have the ability to control their temper. Throughout the highs and lows that come with every player during this 2018 season, it should not be any different with Ohtani. Just give him some time to become the superstar he can become over the next year.