The Los Angeles Angels have signed Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, according to Joel Sherman. Ohtani has become one of the most intriguing international free agents to ever hit free agency.
Ohtani injured his right ankle in early 2017, preventing him from participating in the World Baseball Classic. He received surgery on his ankle in October, before he could be posted for the 2018 MLB season.
Earlier in the week, Ohtani trimmed down his choices to several west coast teams and the Cubs. A major shocker came from Ohtani turning down the Yankees, originally one of the early favorites to win the Ohtani sweepstakes.
The 23-year old right-hander brandishes elite pitching velocity, with his fastball clocking in at 99 mph. Scouts also herald his secondary pitches. According to Chuck Wasserstrom of MLB Trade Rumors, he brings a late, breaking slider that can be used as an effective strikeout pitch. Ohtani is a rarity in the fact that not only is he a exceptional pitcher, but he is also an exceptional hitter. In 5 seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Ohtani had a .283 batting average, an OPS of .859, and he drilled 44 home runs.
Playing in the American League gives the Ohtani the opportunity to hit as a designated hitter on days where he is not scheduled to pitch. Ohtani will lead an Angels rotation that has been underwhelming in 2017, starters combined for an ERA of 4.38 and an FIP of 4.93 last season.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Shizuo Kambayashi