ESPN’s decision-makers knew the call on how to treat hitter/pitcher Shohei Ohtani in fantasy baseball would be a vital one.
So the folks in Fantasy started the discussion … in August, four months before he’d eventually sign with the Los Angeles Angels. They were very aware of what was at stake given how fantasy baseball owners were buzzing about Ohtani on social media and message boards.
“We wanted to make sure our players got to use Ohtani the way a Major League Baseball team would use Ohtani,” ESPN Fantasy editor Pierre Becquey told For The Win on Thursday.
Ohtani will be counted as one player in ESPN leagues, although – similar to what CBS Sports ended up with – owners will have to decide either daily or weekly (depending on their roster deadlines) whether to use Ohtani as a pitcher or hitter. He’ll accrue pitching stats when he’s a starting pitcher and hitting numbers when he’s declared an outfielder, but you won’t get a dinger from Ohtani if you slot him as a hurler.
“I dread the day Ohtani hits his first home run as a starting pitcher,” he joked. Becquey was relieved when he saw Ohtani join an American League team, which somewhat reduces the probability of that scenario…