The still-to-be-determined start of the 2020 MLB season has added an interesting wrinkle to fantasy baseball draft prep. We here at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best information possible heading into your drafts in these unprecedented times.
Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts, in many cases, because of the delayed start to the season. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?
Today's feature focuses on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Draft or Pass at current ADP: 128 (P 46)
It's unusual to find a fascinating and must-watch player as Angels DH/SP Shohei Ohtani, without the tangible results to follow.
The skillset remains unquestioned. Before undergoing Tommy John Surgery and not pitching in all of 2019, Ohtani's arm lit up radar guns across America, averaging 97.4 miles-per-hour on his four-seam fastball along with a vicious splitter and slider while mixing in a curveball.
From the other side of the plate, Ohtani still finished with a solid 2019 campaign with his bat, but still lacked consistency throughout the year. His red-hot June helped save his fantasy season, hitting .340 with 9 home runs and 22 RBI. He finished with 110 hits, 20 doubles, three triples, 18 HRs and 62 RBI with a .352 wOBA and wRC+ of 123.
As our SI Fantasy insider and high-stakes guru Shawn Childs discussed in his Angels Team Outlook, Ohtani's draft position is driven primarily on his upside as a pitcher, rather than with his bat:
In 2020, the Angels will pitch Ohtani about once a week with the idea of adding length to his season as a starter. A fantasy owner should expect about four games per week as a better, which gives him an outlook of about 400 at-bats. Possible 60/25/65 type year with a neutral batting average. His ADP (99) is driven by his ability to pitch at a high level.
Surprisingly enough, Ohtani's ADP has dropped considerably since Childs' article was released. With the upside to be a top-tier starting pitcher along with a middle-order bat, I think it's an opportunity for fantasy owners to take advantage of the time away. He may not give you the innings you crave from an ace, but the stuff plays along with his ability to swipe bases, drive in runs and take walks (.848 OPS).
Even with only 400 projected at-bats, I agree with Childs' analysis that the high pitching upside could play, especially in a shortened season where there's less likelihood for injury. I'd draft Ohtani ahead of his current ADP of 128, putting an 8th-9th round grade on the two-way stud.
READ MORE: 2020 Los Angeles Angels Fantasy Team Preview