• Kyodo


Los Angeles Angels newcomer Shohei Ohtani has been ranked MLB’s top pitching prospect as well as its top overall prospect in an informal poll conducted by mlb.com.

The results, published on Friday, were from the third annual MLB Pipeline survey of major league executives.

The 23-year-old Ohtani received 10 of 22 votes cast as the top overall prospect, edging out Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna, who received eight. Ohtani, whose pitching tools are rated more highly by major league scouts than his batting skills, received 16 of 22 votes cast as the top pitching prospect.

Ohtani is a veteran of five pro seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, but because of his age and experience, was designated as an international amateur last year under the current collective bargaining agreement between MLB and its players union.

“His present repertoire and polish make him a potential top-of-the-rotation starter already in 2018,” a baseball operations official with an American League team said, according to mlb.com. “If that wasn’t enough, the offensive potential as a two-way player makes him easily the best prospect in baseball.”

The article said he is the first pitcher to be ranked as the top overall prospect.

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