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OC Register: Here’s why Angels star Shohei Ohtani is still batting leadoff


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ANAHEIM — Joe Maddon doesn’t seem to have any desire to move Shohei Ohtani out of the leadoff spot.

Although it’s not a traditional spot in the order for someone with Ohtani’s power, the Angels’ manager reiterated Saturday that he believes the leadoff spot is still the best place for Ohtani right now, with this roster.

Maddon said he would start to think about putting someone else in front of Ohtani if he had someone who could get on base at around a .370 clip. Short of that, though, simply putting someone in front of Ohtani who is not going to get on base will only cost Ohtani trips to the plate.

“It’s not just about him being first and being worried about him driving in runs,” Maddon said. “He’s going to drive in runs. He’s going to drive in a lot of runs. A lot of guys can be on base in front of him, but I like the idea that he’s going to hit again sooner. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Also, Maddon likes Ohtani hitting in front of Mike Trout, and he doesn’t want to drop Trout. Maddon’s logic is simple. He wants the best players hitting the most often. Period.

For years, analysts have mostly concluded that lineup construction is overrated. In “The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball,” by Tom Tango, the noted baseball analyst determined that the best hitters should hit first, second and fourth, and beyond that it doesn’t make much difference who hits where.

“The whole lineup protects (Ohtani),” Maddon said. “He’s going to hit his home runs. He’s going to drive in his runs. He’s going to score runs. Among all of our guys, you like to see Michael up there a lot, you like to see Anthony up there a lot, but one guy you want to see up there all the time is Shohei. So that’s a big part of it.

“Plus I think he handles it really well. He was very productive at it last year. He had a good year last season. So I think you can see a lot of the same this year.”

Ohtani, of course, won the American League MVP last season. He hit first 23 times. Ohtani produced a .931 OPS out of the leadoff spot. For the majority of the season, when the Angels were without Trout or Rendon, Ohtani hit second. He had a .976 OPS in the No. 2 spot.

Ohtani has a career .350 on-base percentage, including a .341 mark when he’s hitting first.

If Maddon is waiting for someone to have a .370 on-base percentage to supplant Ohtani, it’s going to be tough.

Although Brandon Marsh had a .415 mark over his first 41 plate appearances this season, his career mark over 301 plate appearances is .330. Tyler Wade (.367 this season, but .302 in his career) also probably needs to sustain his current production for longer before Maddon is ready to believe he can sufficiently set the table for Ohtani.

David Fletcher has often hit leadoff throughout his career, posting a .340 on-base percentage in that spot. Last season, though, he had just a .305 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot and he was dropped.

TRIBUTE TO MIGGY

After Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera collected the 3,000th hit of his career Saturday, Trout said it was an impressive feat.

“It’s incredible,” Trout said. “That’s a lot of hits, I’ll tell you that. It was great.”

Trout, 30, said he would love to get there, too.

“I think if you play long enough and get the opportunity to stay healthy and be out there every day, that’s on your mind,” Trout said.

Trout went into Saturday’s game with 1,428 hits in 1,298 games. If he maintains that average of 1.1 hits per game, he would need to play another 1,429 games. If Trout played every single game for the rest of his Angels contract, that would be another 1,443 games.

One of Trout’s main problems is he lost so many games out of the prime of his career. He missed the final three weeks of the 2019 season with a foot injury and most of the 2021 season because of a strained calf. And in between, COVID cost him most of the 2020 season.

“It’s freak stuff,” Trout said. “I don’t think about that stuff. I can control what’s in front of me. Gotta go out there and play.”

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP José Suarez, 0-1, 5.19) vs. Orioles (RHP Chris Ellis, 0-1, 5.19), Sunday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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51 minutes ago, AngelsWin.com said:

ANAHEIM — Joe Maddon doesn’t seem to have any desire to move Shohei Ohtani out of the leadoff spot.

Although it’s not a traditional spot in the order for someone with Ohtani’s power, the Angels’ manager reiterated Saturday that he believes the leadoff spot is still the best place for Ohtani right now, with this roster.

Maddon said he would start to think about putting someone else in front of Ohtani if he had someone who could get on base at around a .370 clip. Short of that, though, simply putting someone in front of Ohtani who is not going to get on base will only cost Ohtani trips to the plate.

“It’s not just about him being first and being worried about him driving in runs,” Maddon said. “He’s going to drive in runs. He’s going to drive in a lot of runs. A lot of guys can be on base in front of him, but I like the idea that he’s going to hit again sooner. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

Also, Maddon likes Ohtani hitting in front of Mike Trout, and he doesn’t want to drop Trout. Maddon’s logic is simple. He wants the best players hitting the most often. Period.

For years, analysts have mostly concluded that lineup construction is overrated. In “The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball,” by Tom Tango, the noted baseball analyst determined that the best hitters should hit first, second and fourth, and beyond that it doesn’t make much difference who hits where.

“The whole lineup protects (Ohtani),” Maddon said. “He’s going to hit his home runs. He’s going to drive in his runs. He’s going to score runs. Among all of our guys, you like to see Michael up there a lot, you like to see Anthony up there a lot, but one guy you want to see up there all the time is Shohei. So that’s a big part of it.

“Plus I think he handles it really well. He was very productive at it last year. He had a good year last season. So I think you can see a lot of the same this year.”

Ohtani, of course, won the American League MVP last season. He hit first 23 times. Ohtani produced a .931 OPS out of the leadoff spot. For the majority of the season, when the Angels were without Trout or Rendon, Ohtani hit second. He had a .976 OPS in the No. 2 spot.

Ohtani has a career .350 on-base percentage, including a .341 mark when he’s hitting first.

If Maddon is waiting for someone to have a .370 on-base percentage to supplant Ohtani, it’s going to be tough.

Although Brandon Marsh had a .415 mark over his first 41 plate appearances this season, his career mark over 301 plate appearances is .330. Tyler Wade (.367 this season, but .302 in his career) also probably needs to sustain his current production for longer before Maddon is ready to believe he can sufficiently set the table for Ohtani.

David Fletcher has often hit leadoff throughout his career, posting a .340 on-base percentage in that spot. Last season, though, he had just a .305 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot and he was dropped.

TRIBUTE TO MIGGY

After Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera collected the 3,000th hit of his career Saturday, Trout said it was an impressive feat.

“It’s incredible,” Trout said. “That’s a lot of hits, I’ll tell you that. It was great.”

Trout, 30, said he would love to get there, too.

“I think if you play long enough and get the opportunity to stay healthy and be out there every day, that’s on your mind,” Trout said.

Trout went into Saturday’s game with 1,428 hits in 1,298 games. If he maintains that average of 1.1 hits per game, he would need to play another 1,429 games. If Trout played every single game for the rest of his Angels contract, that would be another 1,443 games.

One of Trout’s main problems is he lost so many games out of the prime of his career. He missed the final three weeks of the 2019 season with a foot injury and most of the 2021 season because of a strained calf. And in between, COVID cost him most of the 2020 season.

“It’s freak stuff,” Trout said. “I don’t think about that stuff. I can control what’s in front of me. Gotta go out there and play.”

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP José Suarez, 0-1, 5.19) vs. Orioles (RHP Chris Ellis, 0-1, 5.19), Sunday, 1:07 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM

View the full article

A pitcher  allows one or less people on base the #1 and #2 hitter will get the same amount of at bats.

Maddon is full of shit

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1 hour ago, stormngt said:

A pitcher  allows one or less people on base the #1 and #2 hitter will get the same amount of at bats.

Maddon is full of shit

Comes out to about 20 additional PAs per spot per season.

Also the Tom Tango quote should’ve said that your best players should hit “second, fourth, and first.” The way it’s written it sounds like he’s saying your best hitter should lead off.

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......I mean Marsh has on OBp over 400..but hey stats don't really matter with Maddon.....I mean the guy hitting 9th as an OBp of what?

And for the love of God, can he stop platnoon our main hitters consstantly! once's in a while sure, but come on....Walsh Timing is all fucked up now, Marsh should be the full time starter! 

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1 hour ago, Dochalo said:

and we're losing games that we could win that count in the standings.  

Said just about every team, ever.

Look, I don’t care where Ohtani bats

Edited by True Grich
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48 minutes ago, True Grich said:

Said just about every team, ever.

Look, I don’t care where Ohtani bats

it's really not that big of a deal where he bats.  I wouldn't prefer him leading off but whatever.  

and to your first statement - yep, but by the end of the year, lets see who's saying it the most often.  

your implication that we can give games away just because it's april is a tired narrative.  

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