Shohei Ohtani has the potential to be a generational talent. Being advertised as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” before he even signed with a Major League club. While there were some bright moments, ultimately the handling of his injuries cast clouds over a bright future.
There is no question about the talent of Shoehi Ohtani or what he can produce. Ohtani can throw a fastball past the best hitters in the game and when in the batters box and hit home runs with ease. Through September 10, Ohtani has a slash line of .294/375/.595 with an OPS of .975. With 19 home runs, 18 doubles and three triples, Ohtani has driven in 54 runs this season and stolen nine bases. On the mound Ohtani has a record of 4-2 in 10 starts with an ERA of 3.31. Ohtani has struck out 63 batters in just 52.1 innings pitched. When healthy Ohtani is exactly what he was believed to be before coming over from Japan.
The only problem is that Ohtani is not healthy and his injury is being mismanaged.
Shohei Ohtani has damage to his Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Any damage to this ligament is a concern but there is a certain point when surgery is a necessity. Ohtani is at that point. Ohtani needs to have Tommy John surgery which should sideline him for the entirety of the 2019 season. In all honesty Ohtani should have the surgery now in what is a lost season for the Angels.
However that does not appear to be the plan.
The Angels are letting Ohtani hit and while he is hitting well, this is a mistake. The last thing the Angels and Ohtani need is for him to damage it further and causing even more damage. This level of mismanagement is on the same level as the New York Mets and their ineptitude in recent years.
There is even talk of letting Ohtani hit next season after having the surgery. This is absolute nonsense and should not happen. Sure Ohtani can swing the bat well and can put up some impressive numbers but that is not why the Angels signed Ohtani.
The Angels signed Ohtani because he can hit AND pitch at an extremely high level.
Los Angeles continued to let Ohtani pitch even after suffering the original injury back at the beginning of July. Instead of opting for surgery in July, everything but surgery was considered in order to allow Ohtani to play. If surgery would have been performed Ohtani would potentially be able to pitch at the end of next season. Instead Ohtani will be absent from the mound until 2020.
Ohtani should have had the surgery in July. Ohtani should already be recovering but instead he is playing in meaningless games for a baseball team that will not be playing in October.