by Tony Mrozik, Buffalo Sports Page Fantasy Baseball Expert
Shohei Ohtani is the 23 year old Japanese two-way player can throw a fastball 100 mph and hit a baseball farther than most players. During his 2016 season with the Nippon Ham Fighters he registered 382 at bats and pitched 140 innings.
Ohtani indicated a desire to be a two-way player during negotiations with major league teams. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels in early December and the team indicated they will use him as a pitcher and designated hitter.
If we assume Ohtani can make the transition to Major League Baseball quickly and successfully, we then ask can he do so as a two-way player? Ohtani is a pitcher who also can hit well. The Angels indicated he will have a regular rotation spot and will be used as a designated hitter on his non-pitching days.
Fantasy Baseball Fluctuations
Ohtani as a two-way player poses even more questions for fantasy baseball sites and players. Will he compile enough meaningful statistics as both a pitcher and batter? How will fantasy baseball sites treat such a player? Currently, players are either a pitcher or batter.
Fantasy Baseball sites could treat Ohtani as either a pitcher or batter only. This could backfire if he compiles meaningful statistics as both a pitcher and batter.
Second, they could create two players, a pitcher and batter. In this format, Ohtani would be drafted as each, if you are an Ohtani fan, you could draft him twice. This may be the most practical way to treat two-way players.
Third, fantasy baseball sites could treat him as one player who compiles both batting and pitching statistics. The question then becomes, do fantasy players insert Ohtani into their lineups as a pitcher or batter?
Fourth, fantasy baseball sites could treat Ohtani as a pitcher and calculate batting statistics for him and all pitchers. In this format, fantasy baseball players would be credited for batting statistics for all pitchers. I believe this would be difficult as most pitchers do not take at bats.
It will be interesting!