Shohei Ohtani is a solid bounce-back candidate in 2021, starting strong early in spring training for the Angels.
Ohtani has reached upwards of 100 MPH in bullpen sessions this spring, and delivered in a big way from the plate against the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. The two-way star hit a blast over the batter’s eye that went an estimated 468 feet.
“That’s going to lead to a lot of confidence, not just that swing, but the whole at-bat and the way I was seeing pitches,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “I think there’s room for growth, but I’m feeling good at this point.”
It was the first cactus league home run of Ohtani’s career, but one that could lead to bigger and better things assuming he can remain healthy and gain confidence after a tough season post-Tommy John surgery.
What should Angels fans expect from Shohei Ohtani?
The Angels should have reasonable expectations for Ohtani, but he’s in a unique position given he hasn’t given up on his goal of being an impactful two-way player in modern MLB, something we haven’t seen in decades.
Ohtani’s services would be most valued in the rotation or bullpen, as the Angels need a ton of pitching help, which hasn’t been addressed this offseason.
Living up to his enormous following was always going to be a struggle for Ohtani. While we’ve seen some flashes, 2021 might be his best chance yet to prove he was worth all the hype and money the Angels threw his way.