Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani will face the Athletics on the mound Friday after the A’s faced him at the plate on Thursday. Manager Bob Melvin will watch in appreciation ... to an extent of course.
The A’s skipper knows what the two-way player brings to the game, but in this case, he won’t be watching him as a fan.
“Hmm … maybe if I’m watching him play a different team,” Melvin laughed. “I can.”
Since coming onto the MLB circuit, Ohtani has bloomed into a superstar, showing off his abilities to both pitch and hit -- and do it well. A modern-day Babe Ruth, really.
“It’s unbelievable, it really is. Nobody can do that,” Melvin said on Thursday. “There have been plenty of guys that have tried to. It’s tough enough doing one, as opposed to the other, let alone excelling at both. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a fantastic talent and people around the game and certainly, fanbases should appreciate that because it is a very difficult thing to do to be that good on both ends of it.”
On the pitching side, Ohtani is boasting a a 2.37 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 30 ⅓ innings -- good enough for a 1.253 WHIP.
Batting isn’t much different for him, either. A .266/.328/.616 line with a .944 OPS. He also has 15 home runs and 38 RBI on the season.
Melvin, a former big-league catcher has seen his fair share of those who have attempted. He mentioned Rick Ankiel who only was slightly similar. Ankiel began his 11-year MLB career starting out as a pitcher before switching to the outfield.
“I don’t really think you could compare it to anything, but what -- Babe Ruth early in his career,” Melvin added.
Ohtani originally was scheduled to take the mound Thursday, but ran into a Bay Area transportation issue that involved a car crash on the bridge and a refuted delay on BART. He had to switch to batting second as the designated hitter prior to the game.
Melvin’s comments were prior to the switching announcement.
“He’s not hitting tonight, but he definitely comes up in both,” Melvin said. “I think maybe we were the first team to see him on the pitching end I believe and had a couple good games against us so we know it’s going to be difficult and I know he’s done both. Tonight not, but he’s done both in the same game which, that’s must-see TV.”