Dave Roberts: Shohei Ohtani & Yoshinobu Yamamoto Benefit Each Other On Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a predictable strong start to the season, which has been led by all phases of their roster contributing.

Sitting atop the National League West standings, the Dodgers’ roster has dealt with numerous injuries, but they have relied on the next man up approach, which has worked almost perfectly. The Dodgers rank near the top of MLB both on offense and defense, which shouldn’t be a surprise after their offseason.

The Dodgers had several high-priced newcomers, including Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Although each are in a new situation this season, both have performed well, and Dave Roberts believes they’ve benefited each other along the way, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:

“I really believe comfort leads to performance and confidence, so to have someone that speaks your language, whether it’s Spanish, English, Japanese, Korean, it just makes things more comfortable and more familiar,” Roberts said. “I believe it’s going to help Shohei more, I really do. Not only Yoshinobu.”

For many years in MLB, there has been a prevailing thought that Japanese stars who come to the United States generally prefer to play on teams without an established Japanese player. That was one concern regarding the Dodgers’ pursuit of both Ohtani and Yamamoto.

However, the two are showing why that’s an outdated line of thinking, and formed a close friendship. The pair was also a notable duo on Team Japan during their championship run in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Ohtani and Yamamoto are also already featured in the Dodgers’ first iteration of Playground Compliments, an in-game video for fans to enjoy at Dodger Stadium.

Shohei Ohtani’s focus impressing Dave Roberts

Ohtani’s first season with the Dodgers had gone off without a hitch on the field. By just about every metric, Ohtani has been the best hitter in the Majors, and he’s doing so in his first season with a new team while off the field stuff has threatened his rhythm.

While making a team switch in the offseason and rehabbing a second torn UCL, Ohtani also had to deal with his interpreter and best friend, Ippei Mizuhara, stealing millions of dollars from him to settle gambling debts.

But through it all, Ohtani has never lost his composure. And above everything else, that is what has impressed Roberts the most about what he’s seen from Ohtani.

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