Shohei Otani and the Fantasy Baseball Impact

Baseball fans everywhere are looking forward to seeing how Shohei Otani fares in the majors. How will fantasy baseball handle the two way prospect?

It has been a long time since baseball has seen a prospect like Shohei Otani. A true two way talent, Otani has garnered attention for his incredible feats of power, and his blazing fastball. He has been considered the top pitcher in Japan for the past few years, and would be highly coveted for his pitching prowess alone. Add in his tremendous power, and teams have been waiting for the moment he would come available.

That day is now upon us. Once the new posting rules are determined, the Nippon Ham Fighters have announced that Otani will be on the block. The two way star will now be an extremely desired player, a possible franchise changer as a potential top of the rotation arm and a solid bat. His pursuit will certainly be fascinating to watch.

Otani will also be a coveted player in fantasy baseball. Although it is difficult to extrapolate how he will perform in the majors, especially in his first season, he is likely to be a player that teams will look to draft in the middle rounds, if not earlier. If Otani’s talent comes through immediately, he could help elevate a team into contention.

Along with that talent comes a major question, at least in the fantasy realm. Specifically – how do fantasy websites handle Otani? Normally, pitchers pitch and hitters hit, and outside of the National League, never the twain shall meet. After all, we do not get pitching stats if a position player heads to the mound. And, to the chagrin of Madison Bumgarner owners, we do not get hitting stats for pitchers.

That may have to change for Otani. First, his position designation will be interesting. We know that he will be considered a starting pitcher, but what about his play in the field? Does he get categorized as a SP/RF? Or SP/DH?

Then, how will Otani’s statistics be computed for fantasy purposes? The best guess is that he will get credit for the numbers he posts based on where he is on one’s fantasy roster. His pitching stats would count if he is in a pitching slot, and his offense if he is in a spot in the lineup. Unless, the rules change, allowing the duel threat a chance to make an impact in both positions.

Shohei Otani could change baseball. In doing so, he could also change our fantasy games.