Most Major League Baseball players in baseball history have not been able to have any impact whatsoever to his team while recovering from the serious Tommy John elbow surgery. However, what Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani has been able to accomplish in 2019 is quite frankly remarkable.
On October 1, the day after the Angels finished their 2018 regular season schedule with a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics, Ohtani had Tommy John surgery. The surgery prevented him from pitching during the 2019 Major League Baseball season.
However, Ohtani is not your prototypical baseball player. That is because he is not only used by the Angels for his pitching skills, but his hitting skills as well.
Since starting this season with the Angels on May 7, Ohtani has been used as the Angels regular designated hitter and is batting a very respectable .283 with nine home runs and 30 runs batted in. He has also found himself batting third regularly in the Angels lineup.
It has been in the last week that Ohtani has heated up offensively. In his last six games, Ohtani is batting .440 with six runs scored, two doubles, one triple, three home runs, eight runs batted in, two walks and two stolen bases.
Ohtani’s most magical game during the streak was on June 13 in a 5-3 Angels win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Ohtani became the first Japanese born player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle.
Even though the Angels have two of the most exciting players in Major League Baseball in their lineup (Ohtani and outfielder Mike Trout), the Angels are still only an average team in the standings. They currently have a record of 37 wins and 37 losses and are 11.5 games back of the Houston Astros for first place in the American League West.
A major reason for the Angels struggles has been their pitching depth. That could be drastically improved in 2020 when Ohtani returns to the starting rotation and could just be their ace. In 2018, while on the mound, Ohtani had a record of four wins, two losses, an earned run average of 3.31, 63 strikeouts and 22 walks while pitching in 51.66 innings.