The thought process is that Ohtani would be too valuable if owners could reap his pitching and hitting benefits.
Shohei Ohtani, the 23-year-old Japanese star who just signed with the Angels after being pursued by multiple MLB teams, is set to become the first true two-way player in years. Angels manager Mike Scoscia said the plan is to use Ohtani as a starting pitcher and designated hitter; he'll ostensibly be in the lineup at the DH spot on the days he does not pitch.
This seems like the right move—Ohtani has a 43-15 record and 2.52 ERA as a starter in the Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, but he's also hit .286 with 48 homers and 166 RBIs for his caree. In 2015, Ohtani hit .322 with 22 homers and 67 RBIs as a 21-year-old to win the league's MVP award.
After the Angels won the Ohtani sweepstakes, a heretofore dormant question became salient once again: How will Ohtani be treated as a fantasy player? Pitchers' hitting stats are irrelevant in traditional leagues—they mostly strike out or sacrifice bunt—but what about a guy like Ohtani, who is both a pitcher and hitter by trade? Should players get the benefit of his production at the plate on nights he starts?
Yahoo answered this question on Thursday by deciding that Ohtani the pitcher and Ohtani the hitter will be treated as two different players. From Baseball America:
If you’re in a Yahoo! league and you want to accrue Ohtani’s hitting and pitching stats, you’re going to have to draft him twice, once as a pitcher and then again as a hitter. There were a number of potential solutions that Yahoo! discussed but ultimately, Yahoo! product director Guy Lake said, this decision combined the best of both worlds when it came to functionality and playability.
“We knew this was coming,” Lake said, “so we had to come to a position about it.”
The new rule will also cover any further two-way players, like Rays prospect Brendan McKay, who make it to the major leagues.
File this under the That's No Fun But Makes Complete Sense department.