The Los Angeles Angels have long been one of the most disappointing MLB teams in recent memory.
They haven’t made the postseason since 2014, and that’s with the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, on the roster.
But the organization as a whole is trying to start fresh and surround Trout with top talent.
One of those stars is Shohei Ohtani, who was so good in 2021 that Trout himself would have been proud to finish with those numbers.
The thing that differentiates Ohtani with Trout and the rest of the players is that he can be a stellar slugger and an ace on the mound.
Fortunately for the Angels, his fastball appears to be in peak form, at least judging by the early results in spring training games, like this pitch:
Shohei throwing some heat 🔥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 21, 2022
Ohtani’s fastball, placed at the top of the strike zone like that, will miss a lot of bats: it has ride, and it’s incredibly fast, being clocked at more than 100 mph at some points last year.
It’s almost as important in his arsenal as his impressive splitter.
The Real Angels’ MVP
The two pitches plus his slider helped him put a 3.18 ERA in 130.1 innings last year with the Angels.
In 2021, he was Los Angeles’ most dangerous bat with 46 home runs, and their best pitcher, too: he accumulated 3.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a hurler.
It’s possible the Angels are better equipped to monitor his innings so that he’s fresh for the stretch run and, hypothetically, the playoffs.
They also have the promising Reid Detmers and an improved bullpen.
Will it be enough for them to make the playoffs?NEXT: MLB Fans Ready To See Shohei Ohtani Pitch Again Monday