ESPN announced today that its fantasy baseball game would allow managers to use new Los Angeles Angels acquisition Shohei Ohtani — a rare two-way pitching and hitting star in Japan who will do both in the majors — in both capacities, just not at the same time. CBS Sports, FanTrax and RealTime Fantasy Sports all chose the same one-Ohtani approach as ESPN, albeit with only one or the other accruing stats at a time, with the ability to toggle between the two as often as a league allows lineup changes (typically either daily or weekly). Yahoo’s fantasy sports team decided earlier this offseason that it would have two Ohtanis — one pitcher, one hitter — who would be treated, in effect, as two different people who would be drafted separately, could play for different fantasy teams and potentially even be traded for each other. “We wanted to make sure that, when somebody drafted Ohtani to their roster, they were getting Ohtani — they were getting what Ohtani is, which is a pitcher who can also hit,” ESPN deputy fantasy editor Pierre Becquey said, adding: “We came to the conclusion that we needed to give fantasy players essentially what an MLB [team] would be getting with Ohtani. That’s sort of the point of fantasy.” Becquey said that, ultimately, “it was a pretty easy decision” because of his team’s desire to encapsulate the novelty of Ohtani. What he emphasized, though, is that this template could be followed for other players. “We made sure the work we were doing would set the long-term precedent for players like this,” Becquey said. “Ohtani is the first, he may not be the last.” He noted that one hypothetical that guided their thought process was the possibility of San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner — who has hit 17 career home runs and once hit for himself in lieu of a designated hitter — getting more opportunities to swing the bat regularly.
ESPN Fantasy Baseball Will Have One Shohei Ohtani Who Can Hit And Pitch
SportTechie | Feb 14