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15 February 2018, 06:46 | Henrietta Morgan
Awful Announcing spoke with Pierre Becquey, ESPN's deputy editor for fantasy and esports, as to how the site came to its decision and how Ohtani will impact the sport in numerous ways. "We made the decision that both reflected what Ohtani brings to a team, while at the same time making sure our game continues to be rock-solid, easy to play, easy to pick up, and easy to use on your phone". That's what the Angels have in Ohtani and that's why you can understand them wanting to get creative with him.
"I believe that we were very determined to allow Ohtani to be a single player because that's what the story is with Ohtani", Becquey said. "Secondary to that, when he has an opportunity to swing the bat, we definitely want to take a look at him".
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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. So instead of having to drop someone for a hitter or a pitcher on a given day, Ohtani serves those duel roles. "You don't have to drop anyone". In other words, if Ohtani hit only one home run, he wouldn't be penalized, resulting in a negative score in the category, but rather would earn an amount equivalent to the difference between players who were one home run apart. If he somehow makes at least five relief appearances, he'd be eligible there, too.
"It'll just follow the rules of fantasy baseball", Becquey said. These rules make worldwide players under age 25 with fewer than six years of pro experience ineligible to join a club on a major league contract. "So once we establish that and you set the rule, as long as we're playing by the same rules, to me that's the right way to do things". "Ohtani is the first, he may not be the last". He'll receive the traditional Player Rater valuation for his pitching statistics - the Rater normalizes stats against what you could reasonably expect from a replacement level player in your league - but because any hitting contributions he provides you would be considered "bonus" contributions, each of those numbers would be rewarded incrementally.
One final note: Ohtani will not be available as part of the player pool in batters-only leagues, due to his primary position being starting pitcher.
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