One of the most exciting prospects in some time has arrived in Major League Baseball. When the player in question comes touted as Japan’s Babe Ruth, he can’t help but consume the fantasy baseball headlines, if not because of his potentially lofty impact, then certainly because of the unusualness of his anticipated role.
Shohei Ohtani, the 2016 Japanese Pacific League MVP who signed with the Los Angeles Angels in December, is a rare two-way player, bringing potentially high-quality hitting talent to go along with excellence as a pitcher. He’s the first such player of his type — one we genuinely want to use as both hitter and pitcher — in the Rotisserie era.
Even now after all that missed time, Crawford remains seventh in the NHL in Goals Saved Above Average at plus-17.58, per Corsica. That’s how good he was in those 28 games (.929 save percentage) before leaving with a mysterious head injury, and the team’s other goalies haven’t come close to duplicating it (.903) since he went down.
Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith used to form a core that was the envy of the rest of the NHL. But it’s no longer 2013, and the Blackhawks still want to lean on those four in the same way they always have. The problem is, outside of Kane, it seems apparent at this point that aging is catching up to them.
In other words, if Ohtani hit only one home run, he wouldn’t be penalized, resulting in a negative score in the category, but rather would earn an amount equivalent to the difference between players who were one home run apart. His batting average would be the only potential negative category, if he hits so poorly that he’s a detriment to your team.
One final note: Ohtani will not be available as part of the player pool in batters-only leagues, due to his primary position being starting pitcher.
Happy drafting, and let the Ohtani strategizing in fantasy baseball leagues begin!
That’s not where the team intended to be this season, though, despite an active summer that saw veterans like Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Artemi Panarin, and Scott Darling depart. Those were moves designed to keep the team competitive on the fly.