‘High School 140-homer, 8-for-8’ Otani’s monster junior chooses NCAA over NPB

Japan’s top high school baseball prospect, slugger Rintaro Sasaki (18), is heading to the United States instead of Japan.

“Japanese teenage slugger Sasaki has decided to forgo entering the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) draft and will instead attend college in the United States (NCAA),” according to local media, including CBS Sports. A product of Hanamaki Hisari High School in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, Sasaki is the high school junior of Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), who has an all-time high school home run record of 140.

His power comes from his solid physique (1.84 meters tall and 113 kilograms). He has been a starter since his freshman year of high school. He suffered from various injuries in high school, including a stress fracture in his leg and thoracic outlet syndrome, but he was a force to be reckoned with when he stepped up to the plate. Early on, he was considered the No. 1 overall pick in the NPB Draft.

It remains to be seen where Sasaki will attend college, but Vanderbilt University is a local favorite. Vanderbilt is a baseball program that has produced the likes of Dansby Swanson and David Price. “From a scouting standpoint, Sasaki has the power to hit 30-plus home runs a year in Major League Baseball (MLB), graded around 70 (on a 20-80 scale that rates prospects’ talent from a high of 80 to a low of 50),” ESPN wrote, “but it’s unclear how well he’ll fare against the top amateur pitchers in the U.S. (who have more velocity), much less those he’s faced in Japan. “The consensus in the scouting world is that Sasaki is currently a third-round draft prospect. 무지개토토

“Sasaki dominated Japanese high school with a .413 batting average, .514 on-base percentage, and .808 slugging percentage,” according to Baseball America (BA), which specializes in evaluating prospects. “When he moves to the United States for college, he will not be subject to MLB’s international amateur rule (which limits the bonus pool set aside for teams) and will instead be eligible for the MLB draft.