Remember the name, Roki Sasaki. The next Japanese baseball sensation who pitched 17 perfect innings.
Baseball is an international sport, not just America's pastime, and the MLB is decorated with players from across the globe. A major source of international players have been from Japan, and many of those names have changed the game for the better.
Everyone knows Ichiro Suzuki, who is a walking Hall of Fame resume and an important piece in baseballs history. The latest and greatest of course is Shohei Ohtani, who now has an MVP under his belt after an incredible season of pitching and hitting. The most recent is NL ROY favorite, Seiya Suzuki, who inked a five-year, $85 million deal with the Cubs this season.
Then there are guys with outstanding careers like Hideo Nomo, Koji Uehera, Hiroki Kuroda, Hideki Matsui, and Yu Darvish. Could Chiba Lotte Marines pitcher, Roki Sasaki, be the next Japanese superstar?
Named the "Monster of Reiwa Era", this 20 year old pitching sensation is going to be a name that won't be forgotten. If you haven't heard about him yet, you are in for a real treat.
For the first time in 28 years in Nippon Professional Baseball, a perfect game was thrown. The man behind it was none other than Sasaki, who tossed 105 pitches while striking out 19 batters. A week later, he almost did it AGAIN. 8 perfect innings, 14 strikeouts, and pulled after 102 pitches. I mean look at this sat line.
17 perfect innings
52 straight plate appearances without a baserunner
Dave Roberts would be licking his chops if he could have been the manager who pulled him out of the second game.
His stuff is legit, and he has quite the arsenal of pitches for a young player. The two main ones that are going to be a nightmare for opposing batters are his 101 mph fastball and 91mph splitter.
It will be some time, or some cost, until Sasaki makes it to the MLB. Per the rules, NPB players can’t reach MLB free agency until they have nine years of professional experience or are posted by their respective teams — by the latter, more common route, MLB teams must pay the NPB team for the rights to the player. Due to MLB’s international free agent rules, players younger than 25 are subject to the international bonus pool system. The money an international player can earn once reaching MLB can vary dramatically depending on the age-25 divide.
I am manifesting the Yankees doing so, especially after missing out on Ohtani. Either way, it's time to keep an eye and ear out for this dude.