Dealing with some arm soreness, the team announced he won’t be taking the hill.
Joe Maddon says Shohei Ohtani will not pitch tomorrow as originally penciled in due to general arm soreness, team is not ready to shut him down for season or send him to see doctor currently according to Maddon
— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) September 16, 2021
The two-way star reported the soreness after playing catch on Wednesday, and if he came out sore after such a low-effort throwing session, one can’t help but wonder if he suffers an injury in an actual start.
The out-of-contention Angels have absolutely no reason to send him to the mound, not only on Friday, but for the remainder of the season.
The team reportedly hopes Ohtani can make another start or two before the end of the regular season.
However, with nothing to play other than perhaps boosting his MVP case somewhat, the Angels may just shut him down for the remainder of the year.
That’s what they should do, at least.
Having him focus on hitting and resting his right arm is the smart thing to do at this point.
The Angels don’t have the best of track records when it comes to smart decisions, however.
MVP Race Or Long-Term Health?
Ohtani, for months, was widely viewed as the leading candidate to win the American League Most Valuable Player.
And he still may be the favorite to win it: he is currently boasting a 3.36 ERA in 115.1 innings, with 136 strikeouts on the mound, establishing himself as the ace of the Angels’ rotation.
In the batter’s box, however, he is not your typical pitcher: he is slashing .256/.359/.598 with 45 home runs, 92 runs, 94 RBI, and a .957 OPS.
The problem is that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is surging and is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate, too: .317/.406/.611 with 45 home runs, 116 runs, and 103 RBI.
He is making a serious run at the Triple Crown, and could be the first hitter to win it since 2012.
Guerrero has been scorching hot for weeks and has narrowed the difference between the two.
Some people say Guerrero should be the MVP if he wins the Triple Crown.
What Ohtani has done, however, has no precedent, and he should be the MVP if the season ended today.
I think Ohtani has been even more valuable; if I’m reading it right, he’s been worth 4.6 fWAR as a hitter and 2.7 fWAR as a pitcher, for a total of 7.3!
— Andy (@andyswaff) September 17, 2021
Saying that takes absolutely nothing away from Guerrero, who is clearly the best and most talented hitter in the game right now.
The Angels Should Keep Him Away From The Mound
The truth is that, at this point, Ohtani has no business pitching in games.
He risks a severe arm injury in meaningless innings, and that could be a low point for an already suffering fanbase.
He has proven everything he had to prove as a pitcher this season.
There is always next year, and the Angels should be more competitive.
He will be used as a pitcher and hitter again in 2022, and Los Angeles will make another run at the playoffs.
The team should keep him away from the mound and use him exclusively as a hitter.
He could then focus on regaining the lead in the home run department, one that Guerrero took away from him recently.
To secure the long-term health of his arm, and to keep him fresher in the stretch run as he tries to pad his hitting stats and secure his MVP award, the Angels should shut down Ohtani as a pitcher for the remainder of the year.