Los Angeles Angels pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani is clearly quite adept at both throwing and hitting a baseball, though to what degree among the highest competition remains somewhat of a mystery. Because he is so new to the major leagues, he has created unique, and unfortunately unreasonable, expectations. The result in the fantasy baseball world is this: As exciting and intriguing as this new situation is, Ohtani is more likely to disappoint than to earn the excessive value expected of him in ESPN average live drafts. Hey, this works for me, as I will be able to watch Ohtani perform sans the added pressure of being desperate for groundbreaking statistics on a fantasy roster.
Context is always critical when calling any player worth more or less than perceived value, and that is important in an annual article like this with such an oft-misunderstood and grand proclamation of avoidance. This is about numbers and value. ESPN Fantasy projects Ohtani to win 10 games and strike out 148 hitters over his 140 innings, with a modest 3.41 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. At the plate, Ohtani projects for eight home runs and a .236 batting average. Not quite the numbers so many expect, but ultimately there is a value to them. The problem is I perceive those projections to be realistic, and they would not result in warranting close to an eighth-round choice this season, which is his current ADP.
Welcome to the latest edition of the "Do Not Draft" list, which aims to take into account proper value in comparison with expectations in order to provide a list of players I will be avoiding. Ohtani, 23, dominated in Japan on the mound, at the plate and obviously in the hearts of so many, and it is not the least bit surprising that so many fantasy managers are eager to secure someone with so much promise to their rosters. However, a 3.41 ERA is not what many deem ultimate promise, and that goes for eight home runs as well. There is major upside for Ohtani to be a transcendent star in the United States ... but we are probably not at that point yet in 2018, and that is really the point of his inclusion on this list.