Shohei Ohtani may be the first legitimate two-way player to break into Major League Baseball in recent history, but you won’t find him playing the outfield in 2018. At least, that’s the way Angels GM Billy Eppler put it during Ohtani’s press conference on Saturday, saying that while he was open to a six-man rotation, he didn’t anticipate the young star taking the field during his first season in the majors.
That’s not to say Ohtani will sacrifice any time at the plate. The 23-year-old is still expected to log at-bats at DH and will give veteran slugger and primary designated hitter Albert Pujols a bit of a breather there. According to MLB.com’s Maria Guardado, Ohtani became accustomed to batting three days a week when he played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in NPB.
For the time being, it appears the Angels will push forward with Ohtani as a pitcher first and outfielder second. The two-way star is currently ranked first among all right-handed pitching prospects and fourth among all outfield prospects, per MLBPipeline.com. He tossed five starts in 2017, compiling a 3.20 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 in 25 1/3 innings, but has not played the outfield since a six-game stint during his age-19 season in 2014.