The most promising hitter in Japanese high school baseball is attracting a lot of attention as he decided to attend an American university instead of applying for the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) draft.
Moreover, this hitter is becoming a hot topic as he is Shohei Otani’s high school junior. The protagonist is Rintaro Sasaki (17), first baseman at Hanamaki-Higashi High School.
ESPN reported on the 11th (Korean time), “Rintaro Sasaki, the Japanese high school baseball home run record holder, has given up applying for the NPB draft and decided to go to an American university to advance to American baseball.” He added, “There is no disagreement among Japanese high school players about Sasaki. It was reported that he was evaluated as the best prospect and was certain to be selected first overall in the NPB draft.
According to ESPN, Sasaki is 6 feet tall (1 m83) and weighs 250 pounds (113 kg), has a muscular and well-built physique, and the head coach of his high school baseball team is his father, Hiroshi Sasaki. In particular, this school is also the alma mater of Ohtani and Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.
Although Sasaki’s school in mind and his plans to visit the United States have not yet been revealed, the prestigious Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee is said to be a likely candidate, according to U.S.-Japan professional baseball officials and Japanese media reports.
ESPN said, ‘According to the scouting evaluation report, Sasaki has a raw power rating of 70 and has the power to hit more than 30 home runs every year in the major leagues,’ and ‘In Japan, Sasaki is usually in the mid-80s. While touching the ball, he hit 140 home runs in his three years in high school. It is still unclear whether his slugging ability will be immediately displayed in American college baseball, where there are many top amateur pitchers. “Overall, the scouting community evaluates him as a prospect who can be selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft.”토토사이트
MLB.com also reported the news of Sasaki’s advancement to American universities on this day, saying, “NPB English media outlet Yakyu Cosmopolitan expressed that Sasaki, who is known as Japan’s Prince Fielder, has excellent patience at the plate and has twice as many walks as strikeouts,” adding, “His high school career total is 140. He hit a home run, breaking the previous record of 111 home runs set by Kotaro Kiyomiya. He was evaluated as having stronger power than the Chicago Cubs’ Owen Kaisey, who is said to have the best power tool in the minor league.
Sasaki said earlier this year, “I’m not obsessed with the number of home runs I hit. Thank you for your interest, but my priority is for the team to win. I just do my job faithfully.”
If Sasaki enters the University of the Winderveld as expected, he will be eligible to participate in the Major League Baseball draft in 2026, three years later.
Baseball America reporter Peter Flaherty posted on his SNS, ‘I heard the news that 17-year-old Sasaki is giving up the NPB draft to enter an American university. He hit 140 home runs, the most in Japanese high school baseball, and recorded a batting average of over .400, so he is considered to be in the top class in terms of power.