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Saturday 24th Feb 2018

Last week, I posed the question if Shohei Ohtani should be pitcher eligible, despite serving as designated hitter 65 times last season, compared to just five appearances on the mound. For those concerned I’ve lost my mind, of course he should. That said, unless your commissioner is extremely prescient, I bet your rules don’t define pitcher eligibility. Further, I promise you, there’s a jealous owner in a dynasty league causing a ruckus, trying to screw over the Ohtani owner.

Obviously, pitchers are pitcher-eligible because they’re pitchers. There hasn’t been a need until now, and some may argue there still isn’t a need. Here’s why all rules could now include specific pitching eligibility. What happens if Ohtani suffers an odd injury that prevents him from taking the mound this season, but he’s able to hit, and is expected to pitch again in 2019? Is he not eligible as a pitcher since he didn’t pitch in 2018?

My proposal is defining a Hitting Class and Pitching Class. The eligibility within the Hitting Class is exactly as it is in your current rules. The Pitching Class is anyone taking the hill at all the previous season, provided your scoring service is set up to score their pitching stats along with a common-sense clause permitting eligibility for anyone obviously expected to pitch the upcoming season. Further, an individual player can have eligibility in both classes, to be deployed according league rules governing such players.

“Provided your scoring service is set up to score their pitching stats” is included is to cover the pinhead owner wanting to start Chris Gimenez (as an example). In some head-to-head formats, some may opt for no stats from the spot as opposed to risking a pitcher damaging ERA and WHIP.

The common-sense clause covers the Ohtani scenario. There’s also a chance a position player converts to a hurler without having pitched the previous season.

So, no, I haven’t gone crazy, at least not yet. Common sense should prevail, but we also should formally address this new quirk in our constitutions.

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