Shohei Ohtani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Greg Ambrosius » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:24 pm

Okay, I know this is a hot topic heading into the 2018 season as Shohei Ohtani is going to be the hottest free agent to enter the major leagues in a long, long time. And I wish I had better news for you, but it's time to make a decision heading into the drafting season and stick with it.

For the 2018 NFBC season, Shohei Ohtani will be eligible at only one position. We believe he will be signed as a Starting Pitcher and thus his designation will be P for the entire season.

That means Ohtani will only receive pitching stats in 2018, even if he does play some Outfield or DH. It's possible that he plays multiple positions, but all reports are that he's being heavily recruited for his arm and that's where we'll make him eligible.

So why are we doing it this way?

Right now all stats come over in two forms: Hitting stats and Pitching stats. All players are designated for one set of statistics from our stats provider. If you wanted a player to receive both sets of stats, you'd have to complete a whole new set of programming to get this one player qualified. Or you'd have to create two Player IDs and basically have another spot on your roster, which is even less ideal. With everything we have to program going forward for this new site, the new draft room, the new FAAB, the new Player Accounts and everything else, we've taken the position that this needs to be established now and we'll see after this year if this is something Ohtani will do going forward and if anyone else like him becomes a two-way player. If that is the new trend, then we'll do everything we can to program the software that way starting with the 2019 season.

Is this ideal? No. Will other fantasy sites do it differently? Quite possibly. Will Ohtani really start 32 games and hit in 80 other games? It's hard to tell, but he apparently wants to do both. So we'll see how this all plays out, but for 2018 you are drafting him as a pitcher in the NFBC and his hitting stats won't count.

Ohtani is really the first of his kind in the fantasy baseball era where a player is as heavily noted for his arm as for his bat. In 2016, he won Japan's Pacific League MVP award and was named as the Best Nine DH and Best Nine Pitcher. He hit .322 with 22 home runs, 67 RBIs, 65 runs and 7 stolen bases with an OBP of .416. Ohtani also pitched in 21 games and had a career low 1.86 ERA. He went 10-4 and struck out 174 batters in 140 innings with 4 complete games and one shutout.

Now in 2017 he was only 2-2 with a 4.96 ERA as he battled an ankle injury which required surgery at season's end. He did hit in 65 games and hit .332 with 8 HRs and 31 RBIs, but again the ankle injury limited his success. There are reports that he could stay in Japan for two more years, but at 23 he's itching to come to the majors.

Can he do what he did in 2016 in the majors? Possibly. But in the NFBC you are drafting him only as a Pitcher and in 2019 we will see if we need to program this differently to tackle both sets of stats.

Sorry for the news, but here we go.
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Ichiban » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:55 am

Hi Greg,

Just my two yen, but why do you have to decide on him now? I mean there are other players who won't be decided on between now and the end of the next regular season, so why is it so urgent to make a final decision on Otani in October? I think by locking into a position now, you are putting yourself into a corner. What if, by some chance, he does play both positions and plays both well? Assuming NFBC lists him as a pitcher, he would be the only player in baseball who did significant offensive damage who would not be part of the contest. And it seems weird that that would be acceptable to NFBC considering just a week ago you said if a season had 163 games you wanted to count every game, since you thought it was important for this contest to offer all the stats MLB offers. Again, I am not saying Otani needs to have a special rule made for him, but I don't understand the rush to make a decision on him now. (Personally, I don't see why it would be too hard for you to have two IDs for him. I mean, I assume if you had a pitcher and a hitter named Joe Smith you could handle that, so why couldn't you handle a pitcher and hitter named Shohei Otani, if in fact he proved to be NFBC-worthy in both roles)? Again, this may very well become moot, but I at least wanted to give you my argument on why I don't think this is the right way to go in October, when is still plenty of time for possible discussions and consideration... if he even plays two positions at all. A two way player would be one of the biggest developments of the entire MLB season, and it would be a shame to me if NFBC had already made a permanent decision not to be part of it... before the previous season playoffs had even ended.

Thanks for everything, and obviously I love the game whatever you decide, but I at least wanted to give you my thoughts on it, especially considering how big Otani is here in Japan. ;-)
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Ichiban » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:00 am

One further point too. What if Otani starts out playing both positions, and NFBC decides to list him as, say, only a pitcher. And then for whatever reason the team decides he is a better hitter, and will play that position the rest of the year (not likely, I grant you, but what if there were some injury that affected his pitching shoulder, but that he could somehow still hit through). Would that mean Otani would not be available to the contest for the rest of the year?
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Edwards Kings » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:58 am

Not speaking for Greg, but I am guessing the reason the decision is made now is because Greg was asked now. Also, he knows many people start planning early and even draft early (as in right now for 2018). While things could change of course, a decision needed to be made now based on best available information we currently have.

All I know is I cannot wait to see him play (hitting or pitching)! :D
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Greg Ambrosius » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:00 am

Michael, again as I stated the stats come over with a list of hitters and a list of pitchers. I'm sure every game operator receives those stats the same way. So for a player who has never played before, we will need to tell our stats provider to add a Player ID for him and then to make him a hitter or a pitcher. In the past STATS always just added this Player ID for us. We are still working with our stats provider to see how this will work going forward. We may have more Placeholders early on, but again we're working through that now.

We will list him as a Pitcher and designate that now. Like any other player without a Player ID we need to designate that and put him there for position eligibility. He was more of a Pitcher in the past, although last year because of his ankle injury he DH'd more than he pitched. Still, we are listing him as a Pitcher because we believe he will be signed for his arm.

A Josh Smith would have one Player ID and the other Josh Smith would have a different Player ID. Otani will have one Player ID like every other player. Ideally that one ID would allow hitting stats and pitching stats, but if you did that now EVERY pitcher would count his pitching and hitting stats. You'd need special programming to just allow Otani to do that and it's not a quick fix. It's a massive programming change to allow this for just this one player. Again, we'll see if other industry sites do this and we hope to have the time to do it next year, but as we sit here today with a whole new site to program for 2018 it's not feasible. It's just not feasible if we want to get everything done right for 2018 with NO issues.

Yes, we do want the game representative of the play on the field throughout the entire regular season. We'd love to plan for Otani to be the first two-way player and give you those options. I wish we had an established site that could just add this one fix, this one addition. But we don't and we can't compromise everything else for this. Again, I'm not a programmer but I'm told it's a massive change to the game and we don't have the time to add it for one player. So we are making this ruling now and hoping everyone plans accordingly when they draft him. There's not even a guarantee that he signs this year; he could stay in Japan for two more years and make more money in the majors when he's 25. But we have to do what is best for the NFBC game as we reprogram every single aspect of the site and game, along with two other sports, so this is how we are handling Otani in 2018.

As for the second question: Otani is a Pitcher all year. If he hurts his arm and just hits, NFBC owners would have to plan accordingly and likely drop him. Yes, that's how we have to do it this year.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Greg Ambrosius » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:04 am

Edwards Kings wrote:Not speaking for Greg, but I am guessing the reason the decision is made now is because Greg was asked now. Also, he knows many people start planning early and even draft early (as in right now for 2018). While things could change of course, a decision needed to be made now based on best available information we currently have.


Yes, I asked this of the programmers to make sure we were all on the same page and after seeing everything involving the new site I totally concur. We can't afford a single hiccup on the new site and with drafts hopefully starting in a month we need to state the eligibility of all players before then and Otani is a special case. We know people will draft him, so here is his eligibility just like any other minor-leaguer or International signing. Is it ideal? No. But this is his position and we begin drafts. I hope he does hit and pitch like an All-Star. In 2019 when the site is stable and sound and running without any issues, we will take the time to program this new addition for Otani and any other two-way player. Sound good?
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Deadheadz » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:08 pm

Glad to know the policy is being set early so no one drafts Otani expecting more value than he ends up having.

I can't think of anyone that wouldn't want the advantage of having one of their pitchers chip in toward their R/HR/R totals. But that brings up the question of the global effect of counting the pitcher's hitting stats.

If you count one you must count them all. Do any of us really want to have our BA including all the 0-fers from the rest of our pitchers?

It's a good decision IMO.
Thanks for letting us know well in advance Greg.
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Ichiban » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Deadheadz wrote:Glad to know the policy is being set early so no one drafts Otani expecting more value than he ends up having.

I can't think of anyone that wouldn't want the advantage of having one of their pitchers chip in toward their R/HR/R totals. But that brings up the question of the global effect of counting the pitcher's hitting stats.

If you count one you must count them all. Do any of us really want to have our BA including all the 0-fers from the rest of our pitchers?

It's a good decision IMO.
Thanks for letting us know well in advance Greg.


This was never the issue. The point is it is quite possible Otani will play as a DH or in the OF when he is not pitching (it is definitely what he wants to do, and if he comes next year he would have a lot of leverage since his salary would be so low). If he were listed as both a hitter and pitcher, owners would have to choose where to list him. Right now the rules of NFBC say if a player plays 10 games at a position, he gets listed at that position. If Otani were to play 10 games as a hitter on days he doesn't pitch, that would make him unique, as that will not be the case with any other pitcher. I completely trust Greg and appreciate him giving me his reasons. But no one was ever saying you should count both Otani's pitching and hitting stats the same week, or that he be treated differently than any other player. Only that the current eligibility rules should apply to him, which, as Greg explained, is a programming hassle.
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Greg Ambrosius » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:30 pm

Correct Michael. Ideally -- and I stated this in another thread -- I would like Otani to have eligibility at UT and P if he hits and pitches this year. For someone that plays enough at those positions I'd love to have the software give him this dual eligibility and then each week YOU the owner decides whether you start him as a pitcher or as a hitter and the software only gives him those stats. That would be ideal.

But it's not feasible for us to have that programmed for 2018. But if time allows for next year and he proves it's needed, we'll get it done.
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Re: Shohei Otani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby DJMDJM » Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:14 pm

Heard last week that Otani would be leaving 10+ million on the table if he signs with MLB prior to 2020. Due to the last collective bargaining agreement. Sorry I don't know too many specifics other than that main point. That 10+ million is the $$$ he would be making oversees. There is apparently a cap on the money he can make in MLB before he turns 25 years old.
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Re: Shohei Ohtani Will Be Eligible At One Position In 2018

Postby Greg Ambrosius » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:04 am

Yesterday's signing by the Los Angeles Angels of Shoehei Ohtani is great news for baseball fans. One, it ensures that we'll see the "Babe Ruth of Japan" in the greatest baseball league in the world this season. And two, we get to see someone who is possibly capable of being an elite pitcher and an elite hitter.

How the Angels handle that work load will be interesting and I think we're all looking forward to seeing how it works out. If it's a trend that will be followed by other players, we'd love to see it.

All of this, however, doesn't change how Ohtani will be drafted in the NFBC. We have already stated that he will be Pitcher-only in the NFBC in 2018. Everyone in the NFBC is playing under the same rules and thus valuing Ohtani's talents based solely on how he will be used as a pitcher. We've explained that this is a programming issue for the NFBC in 2018 and with everything we have to do to get the NFBC, NFFC, NFBKC and even the new hockey site live and running in 2018 that this wouldn't be feasible to program for one player at this time. Other sites may handle this differently and we totally understand, but for 2018 NFBC Ohtani is Pitcher-only eligible.

If it's needed to adjust our programming in 2019 we most definitely will. But again, everyone goes into 2018 drafts knowing what stats Ohtani will offer each owner in 2018 and everyone is valuing him that way. That's how we have to handle this situation in 2018 for the NFBC.

I love the enthusiasm to the game that Ohtani brings with him. It's good for baseball. It's good for the fans. It's good for the NFBC. And it's especially good for the Angels. I hope he's a huge success in every aspect this season.

Ohtani's ADP through the first 10 NFBC drafts is 77. It will be interesting to see if that value rises or falls with his signing in the AL. Let's find out with more drafts. Thanks all and good luck.
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