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Shohei Ohtani named Opening Day starter for Angels

Reigning AL MVP, to no one’s surprise, will start on Opening Day for the Halos against the Astros.

Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels throws a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 26, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels announced that reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani will start on Opening Day against the Houston Astros on Thursday, April 7. This isn’t at all surprising, but with Ohtani also batting and DHing for most of the season, there could have been some expectation he could pitch later in the rotation. Noah Syndergaard would have been the other pitcher who could start on Opening Day. Either way, it’s Ohtani and he’ll start his MVP defense against the reigning AL champion Astros.

Last season, Ohtani made 23 starts, going 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts, good for a 4.1 WAR. He also added 46 HRs and 100 RBI with a .965 OPS and 4.6 WAR batting, pretty much running away with the MVP award. The Angels have been cautious with Ohtani at the plate since he joined the team back in 2018. L.A. generally allows for Ohtani to skip starts in the rotation throughout the year to remain fresh at the plate and in the outfield.

On ESPN, Ohtani is the consensus No. 1 overall selection in Tristan Cockcroft’s ranking of the top 300 players. Ohtani is No. 1 at SP and No. 1 at DH with dual-eligibility. So if you’re entering a fantasy baseball draft, Ohtani is the guy you’d be going with at first pick.