Spring Training has begun in the MLB, allowing prospects to showcase their talents in hopes of making the 40-man roster for a professional club. One prospect has been given the spotlight since before pitchers and catchers reported to camp, giving the game of baseball the feeling of nostalgia that fans haven’t fully experienced since the Babe Ruth era.

A two-way player is a player capable to both pitch and hit, which then allows a team to fill a valuable roster spot with a position player and pitcher with only one man. Shohei Ohtani, from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, has displayed his unique talents in Japan for the past five years leaving fans in awe.

Ohtani is considered to be a true two-way player, as he has played both outfield and pitcher throughout his professional career. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, has Shohei Ohtani as the No 1 prospect in all of baseball in his pre-2018 prospect rankings, while Baseball America has him ranked as the #2 prospect, giving fans a certain sense of hype surrounding Ohtani.

In 2016, Ohtani won the Pacific League MVP after posting a 1.86 ERA, and an astonishing slash line (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage) of .322/.416/.588. The 2016 season further exploited his talents as a two-way player, allowing him to grow more interest from professional MLB clubs.

On December 8th, Shohei Ohtani, a two-way player from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, signed a league minimum contract for six years.

The contract is worth $545,000 per year with a one-time signing bonus of $2.3 million, along with a $20 million post to the Nippon-Ham Fighters in order to play for the los angeles angels.

Due to the Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, Ohtani (23 years old) can only sign for the league minimum salary since he is under the age of 25 and is an international player.

Teammate Mike Trout, publicly announced his excitement of the signing of Ohtani with a subtle tweet, further pushing the excitement surrounding the up and comer.

Ohtani’s impact on the Angels lineup

After missing the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and seeing division foe, the Houston Astros, win the World Series last season, the Los Angeles Angels are hoping that Ohtani’s bat and arm can help push them over the edge and get them back in the playoffs.

The Angels had a poor offensive, along with a decent pitching season during the 2017 campaign.

According to mlb.com, the Angels ranked 28th in the league in team batting average posting a mere .243, 23rd in on-base percentage (.315), and 27th in slugging percentage (.397). To put these numbers in perspective, in 2017, the average major leaguer’s slash line read as such, .255/.324/.426 (via Baseball Reference).

Ohtani’s slash line in the Nippon Professional Baseball's Pacific League was nothing short of exceptional. His slash line read as the following: .286/.358/.500. There’s no certainty that these numbers will carry over in the MLB, but it will still be a big upgrade for an Angels offense who are desperately looking for production outside of Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.

The Angels have expressed their interest to make Ohtani a DH and supplement him in the lineup.

On Monday, Shohei Ohtani started his first game as a DH against the San Diego Padres. Ohtani went 1 for 1 with an RBI single and two walks, reaching base in all three at-bats. Ohtani’s first hit was a hard driven grounder up the middle, which drove in teammate Eric Young Jr. The Angels posted Ohtani's first hit with the hashtag "#ShoTime".

For a rotation that lacked a true ace, the Angels did surprisingly decent for what they had last season. Mlb.com reports that the Angels ranked 12th in team ERA (4.20), 10th in opponent batting average (.251), and 10th in WHIP (Hits plus walks allowed divided by innings pitched), posting a 1.28.

The best starting pitcher for the Angels last season, in terms of ERA, was Ricky Nolasco, who posted a poor 4.92. The league average last season for ERA was 4.36 (via Baseball Reference).

Ohtani's career numbers show that he is a more talented pitcher than a hitter. Ohtani has a career ERA of 2.52, along with a 42-15 record. These numbers show that Ohtani should translate to a respectable pitcher in the pros and has the potential to be the ace the Angels will need in order to make a playoff run.

On February 24th, Ohtani started his first career game, as he was the starting pitcher for the Angels in their spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Ohtani pitched 1 ⅓ innings, striking out two, allowing two runs (one earned), two hits, and a walk.

Time will tell whether the two-way player will succeed in the Majors. Ohtani has great potential to take control of the league. With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols as teammates, Ohtani’s player development should grow quickly from a hitting standpoint. Ohtani should come out of the gate as a good rotational pitcher for the Angels and he will continue to grow over the next six years.