These are some thoughts and questions about Shohei Ohtani, the Angels in general, and the connection to Mike Trout. Perhaps some of you all had the same thoughts, perhaps you didn’t. This is just a stream of consciousness. It’s not meant to share Ohtani facts that have been shared many places before, but rather it’s my attempt to contemplate the meaning of all of it. We all know he’s leading the Majors in home runs. We all know he’s doing things that haven’t been done since Babe Ruth. What is the impact?
When Shohei Ohtani makes contact, as our own Rick Souddress eloquently points out, it’s hard to believe that it won’t leave the yard. You expect the baseball to leave the yard. I don’t think I’ve experienced this phenomenon with anyone else. I expect Mike Trout to lace the ball, but I’ve become accustomed to seeing his gorgeous line drives singles and doubles. Shohei’s bombs are majestic.
This is not to say that I appreciate home runs from Ohtani more than I do from Trout. It’s an entirely different feeling. With Trout, I appreciate the beauty of how he manages to hit a line drive so freaking hard that it leaves the yard. It’s a feeling of happiness. With Ohtani, my heart leaps into my chest. Trout’s big flies leave me feeling satisfied, because I expected it. Ohtani’s big flies leave me breathless, because I cannot believe what I am witnessing.
In essence, Mike Trout will always be my favorite player. He was formative to me, not when I was learning the game of baseball but when I was slowly appreciating how much I loved the game. I simply don’t think there will be a player that takes the place in my heart that Trout occupies.
Mike Trout has never made me feel the way Shohei Ohtani is now.
This is the first season that Ohtani has DH’d the day before and after he starts. It’s probably not sustainable in the long-term, as even Babe Ruth said a player can’t hit and pitch as often as he did. We might only have one or two years left of this glorious duality. I know I am going to appreciate it as much as I can.
It’s almost similar to the Trout vs. Ohtani feelings debate again. I irrationally believe Trout’s prime will last forever. I know that Ohtani only has a short span of this pitching-hitting double-edged sword.
(But if it is sustainable…)
This is something I’ve said a few times on the site now: for the next best player in baseball debate, I dabbled a little with Juan Soto back when he was tearing it up (he still is). But I knew in May, and the events of the last few months have firmed it up, that I 100% believe with all my heart that Shohei Ohtani will be the player to fully take the reins from Mike Trout.
I know this is definitely not how it works…but if I am a billionaire and I own the Angels, I would spend like $500 million a year. Clayton Kershaw? Come on down for 2 years, $120 million. Doesn’t work out? Just eat it. Zack Greinke? Whatever you want to be paid. Corey Seager? Here’s a massive deal. I would lose a ton of money, but I don’t think being saddled with the legacy of owning Trout-Ohtani teams into mediocrity is better at all.
Can a player (Mike Trout) be known as the Greatest Baseball Player of all Time if he spends half his career with a player better than he is?
Will Albert Pujols, unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer, have played multiple seasons with players who will have better careers than his?
People are always mad about takes that seem to be tinted with “East Coast Bias.” I personally don’t get mad anymore. I get sad. Those individuals with the unfortunate situation of living three hours ahead of Anaheim don’t have the ability, don’t have the choice to, even if not to watch the entire Angels game, flip on an Ohtani or Trout at-bat. My heart goes out to them.
The pitching needs work. It won’t be fixed this year. Maybe it won’t be fixed next year. The math says the Angels probably won’t make the playoffs, much less get to the World Series.
The math has never dealt with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout at the peak of their powers.
Being an Angels fan recently hasn’t dealt a lot of successful hands. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Title Image from Angels Twitter
I’m not gonna lie, I kind of hope Trout heals up all the way, watches all the ShoLove, get’s a little bit of the Tom Brady Killer Robot quietly burning inside, comes back, and has a .3000 OPS for the rest of the season. Show the world that Ohtani’s nice and all but he’s not Trout…. not in a mean way, but a firm way.
Sooooo, what you’re saying is Ohtani isn’t washed up after all? I was on some website all winter and there was a lot of that going around… it must have been Halos Heaven.
No, it was Halo’s Hangout.
Ohtani’s having fun. I loved his excitement about scoring that winning run. And Joe’s doing great, saying all the right things about his star DH/RF/P.
Contrasted to Tony LaRussa, who broke Yermin Mercedes.
prior to LaRussa criticizing his own player for hitting a homerun and then defending the other team for trying to bean him: .364 with 7 HRs (47 hits in 129 at-bats)
post all that: 18 for 111, .162 BA with 2 HRs.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Pinstripe Alley and Camden Chat (“Shohei Ohtani Almost Single-Handedly Destroys Orioles in 8-7 Walkoff Loss”) and then going to a major outlet and seeing Joe’s comments about Shohei and how he encourages him to hit and pitch in the All-Star Game. I’m a big fan of Maddon. I think he’ll get us there if Perry can deliver some pitching, any decent pitching.
Glad to hear this Eric.
I think you and I might be the only Maddon fans here.
Another Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani from a cave in Eastern Siberia would sure be nice! 👍 👍 💪
Alex Cobb has a quick thought about Ohtani for you ….
Yes. What he’s doing at the plate is otherworldly. But that last outing on the mound had better be a fluke. If we can’t even depend on Ohtani to throw a good game, the Angels’ pitching woes are sooo far beyond repair that it’s laughable. Just when we think 1 or the other of our SPers are stepping it up, they totally fall apart.
He still has that laps of concentrating, and he also needs to stop thinking too far into the future burning out before the work begins.
i.e.: he still gets overly excited before the big day. He needs to RE-LAX.
That first full season on the mound after TJ is never great. Not too worried about his bad starts. I’m guessing he will look much better by the end of the year and next year find his groove.
At least they are admitting Bundy and Q had to go.
First, in that game he DID get screwed by the HP Umpire. Big time.
That said, I agree that he lacks aggressiveness when starting games. I would like to see him go at batters a little bit more in the 1st inning.
Mike Trout vs Shohei Ohtani does not exsist. Why? Because everything we feel about what we are witnessing, what we are feeling , and the Ou’s and Ah’s we have been going through with Trouty for years. No one posts when Mikey is up to bat, no one’s eyes leave the TV screen, no one looks away at the Big A, No one goes for food or drink when Trout is at bat. And when Mike Trout delivers it is eclectic as we Angel fans have never seen this before. No one in Southern California has seen this before. Now we have a second Super Star in our mist, as one star fades another replaces, the same but different because comparison is just not possible because the skill sets are different.
One is right handed the other left handed.
One a 5 tool player the other a DH and a pitcher.
One hits the ball for miles the other does the same
One runs faster than most still and the other runs faster than most also.
Both are exciting to watch whether robbing HR’s or striking batters out, but both are electric at bat.
But for only a short time in early 2021 have both excelled at the same time. Since the start of 2018 the two have because of either being new to MLB or injuries have lit it up simultaneously.
When Mike returns and he starts and finishes Hot we may witness something exceptionally special, even extraordinary, not seen since Mantle and Maris or Mays and McCovey and if lucky since Ruth and Gehrig, two of the best the Game possesses currently.
One is not better than the other, just different Top of the line, Genuine all purpose, Full Fledged, Heavy Duty, Handy Dandy, New and Improved hitting duo.
Now that is my Dream.
One is Fat the other is not.
I appreciate the effort but this piece is way too complicated and deep for me.
“This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.”
Ohtani is doing great things but sooner or later he will slump and seem human.
I will remind you he didn’t get off to a great start…I vividly remember reading that he will need seasoning in the minors. I remember hearing his pitching was raw. I remember hearing “he can’t hit a curve ball”……….wrong.
link read comments, very funny now
I was one of those people. I saw him at ST, and he did not look ready. I even said on HH he needed some time in SLC.
I freely (and happily) admit… I was wrong.
Been having this conversation with whoever will listen to me (my astonishment at not only Ohtani but how he could’ve surpassed Mike trout as my favorite player).
Simply put, been to more games this year and going to all star game and home run derby just because of Ohtani.
Thanks HT – enjoyed your thoughts. I have many of the same ones. I love the excitement I feel with every Ohtani at bat.
I also think about how Trout must be feeling. He has been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade and of MLB for numerous seasons. And suddenly, all that anyone can talk about (understandably) is Ohtani. When Trout is interviewed he is asked questions about Ohtani first and then himself as an afterthought. I cannot help but think it is a bit tough on his ego – which we all have. It must be particularly tough to have to watch everything from the dugout or tv without being able to participate.
What I hope is that Trout embraces the competition and that he and Ohtani push each other in a friendly/loving/brotherly way to new heights. If so, this could be the most exciting 5 years to be an Angel fan. Particularly if the team acquires/develops some legit pitching. As you point out, Arte would have to open his wallet big time as well.
I love Trout – he is just the best. I love Ohtani for the joy he is bringing back to me re baseball and his unbelievable ability, hard work and focus. I deeply hope there is enough room on this team for two very public superstars without any jealousy or resentment.
I think (and hope) that Trout is relieved that he no longer needs to be the center of attention.
Disagree…..Mike will want to reclaim his crown!
When he comes back, he and Ohtani will take part in a fierce competition, the winner to be proclaimed “King of the Angels”! The fans will vote the day after clinching our 2nd World Series Championship. This process will be repeated every October going forward. Present day Odds are 50/50!
Every time I see Sho at the plate, I think prepare to be astounded. Never seen a player that has this kind of magic. There are no words.
Yes! Trout’s greatness is in his consistency (and it’s amazing what he does). Ohtani’s greatness is in his magic.
But this is recent AF Trout (After fatness), Early Trout flew over outfield walls as spiderman to make game saving catches or chased balls down in the gaps or beat the pitcher with late inning heroics after in game learning and swing adjustments. Nothing was more magical then BF Trout
Consistency is good. Especially if you have been the GOAT but I miss the BF Trout
At 26/27, ShoTime is definitely in his Prime Time and will continual to be great for a very long time. Lets just hope he doesn’t get fat anytime soon.
And lets hope Arte throws 300 million at him…like this season!!!
There is no way Arte let’s Ohtani walk away from Anaheim. If there is something Arte loves, it’s stars that he could market the hell out of. There is no bigger star both in the US and worldwide than Ohtani. Arte is gonna give his agency blank check and tell them to fill it out.
I would argue that Trout’s career has pretty much been 75% AF Trout at this point. It’s basically who he is now.
I think you and some others on HH are selling Trout short. Are you forgetting that he was off to the best start of his career before he got hurt? And his defense was already improving over last year.
And what is this HH you so fondly talk about?
Oops! Old habits die hard. HH can suck it.
Lately meaning since Trout has been hurt? Yes, granted. Ohtani has been better than Trout since May 17th.
HH is generally about a day behind.
I am just going to say it – I firmly disagree with the whole ‘Fat Trout’ thing and I don’t like it even as a joke. He is the best player ever to wear an Angel uniform and is likely to go down as an all-time great. I think it’s hugely disrespectful to say the AF thing even in jest. It’s not funny in my humble opinion and it annoys me in that it comes across as unappreciative.
I totally agree with you Fan. I never liked the “Fat Kid” nickname for Trout. Yes, I do understand the wordplay on “phat” and that the youth subculture uses it as a rough equivalent to “cool.” That said, similar to you I don’t like the image/s of obesity that it conjurs up. It makes me thing of Augustus Gloop and that is not a good thing.
There is something electric about Ohtani. Every time his name appears in the line up it just fills this fan with excitement. He can pitch, Hit and has blazing speed. The new face of the Angels and an absolute gifted athlete. We are very lucky to have this guy on the team.
Nice commentary H.T. You captured many of my thoughts as well. Nicely stated. As with Mike, feel lucky to have Shohei on the team.