Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ pitcher/hitter/karaoke singer who has UCL damage, will undergo Tommy John surgery at the end of the season, the team announced today:
This sucks, because Ohtani was a solid 3.52 xFIP pitcher, with an impressive 10.97 strikeouts/9 in an admittedly limited 51.2 innings in his debut campaign with the Angels. That side of Ohtani will undoubtedly disappear until 2020.
However, Ohtani has continued to hit as a DH for the Angels even after the recommendation for Tommy John surgery came in, because UCL damage doesn’t typically mess with a hitter the way it does a player who chucks a baseball absurdly fast 90 times over the course of an afternoon. He’s managed to hit five homers, including a longball that he absolutely pummeled on Monday night, since the bad news broke in early September, and his OPS has still been above 1.000 for this month.
The Angels won’t stop using their best hitter not named Trout for a whole season just because of a dumb little arm problem. So don’t worry—fans will still get to see Ohtani hit, and Ohtani himself won’t miss one minute of the thrill ride that is another sub-.500 Angels season.