The Angels lost another starting pitcher to injury, this time it’s Shohei Ohtani. He will be out at least three weeks. What is the fantasy impact of this news?
The Los Angeles Angels made a few moves in the offseason to make them more competitive in the American League West. After signing Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart, the team landed Japanese prospect Shohei Ohtani. After a bad spring training, he was all everyone could talk about with what he was doing on the mound and at the plate.
Unfortunately, that is going to be put on pause for a minimum of a month. He was last seen on June 6 but was removed after four innings. The Angels placed Ohtani on the 10-day DL with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Ohtani was dealing with a Grade 1 sprain of his UCL while he was making his MLB tour in the offseason.
Ohtani was having a great season. He was hitting .289 with six home runs, 20 RBIs, 17 runs and a 33:15 K:BB ratio. As a pitcher, he had a 3.10 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 11.1 K9, 3.6 BB9 and a 4-1 record.
In most fantasy leagues, he was one single player. The owners had the option to use him as a pitcher or hitter, depending on the day of the week. However, Yahoo! separated Ohtani into two players, Ohtani the hitter and Ohtani the pitcher. This increased his ADP as a pitcher and made him a steal as a hitter.
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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, tweeted that Ohtani first felt elbow discomfort when he was getting his blister treated last Wednesday. He followed it up by saying that Angels GM Billy Eppler was hopeful Ohtani could avoid Tommy John surgery. “…that it is completely treatable with the biologic prescription the doctors recommended.”
The Angels will reevaluate Ohtani’s health in three weeks, which puts us at the end of June/beginning of July. I expect him to be out until after the All-Star break. Depending on where the Angels are in the standings, they may not want to rush him back into the lineup.
Ohtani is owned in 97.7 percent of ESPN leagues and 97 percent of CBS Sports leagues. So, this injury affects a lot of people. If you need a pitching replacement, Jaime Barria is widely available and will have a rotation spots for at least a month.
The Angels are already without Matt Shoemaker and JC Ramirez for a majority of the season. Now without Ohtani on the mound every five days and at the plate for three to four days of the week, the Angels will have a bigger handicap as they attempt to catch Seattle and Houston in the standings.
Dropping Ohtani in any league format would be hard to do. He’s been productive both as a hitter and pitcher. His injury is yet another big loss to the player pool early in the season. Even if you don’t own any shares of Ohtani, you don’t want to see a player of his caliber miss significant time.