Everybody’s talking about this Japanese kid. I had to jump in as well. Ever hear of Shohei Otani? Me neither. Actually that’s not true…
BYB wrote about Otani back in 2012 when he was a bit younger. Back then, the story was titled BYB TRADE RUMORS & FREE AGENTS: PART 2, and BYB senior writer Jeana Bellezza wrote this:
“Shohei Otani: WHO?! You may be asking that….and after you read this, prepare to do some extra Google researching. Otani is an 18-year old Japanese phenomenon from Japan. He is a starting pitcher that features a strong fastball that he can throw between 95-100 mph.”
Well… apparently he can now hit the crap out of the ball too and he’s just a total superstar. I love that BYB had the scoop on this dude way back in 2012. But now there is more. The New York Post writes:
“Otani is not expected to come to the American majors until next offseason, at which point the frenzy for his services likely will make him the first Japanese import to exceed $200 million.
’I actually think the guy might get a $300 million deal,’ said a scout who has had multiple looks at the righty pitcher/lefty hitter. ‘That is how special a talent he is. He has power No. 1 starter stuff. He is throwing 99 [mph] in the eighth inning. His secondary stuff is unhittable. He is big and loose. His fastball is electric and his curve, cutter and split are all 70s [on the 20-80 scouting scale].And I think he is getting better as a hitter. I think an American hitting coach teaches him to turn on the ball more and he can be a 45-homer guy.
He has Darryl Strawberry power. He is the face of a franchise. He is a big, handsome guy and when he plays baseball you cannot take your eyes off of him.’
Otani is 6-foot-4, began pitching professionally when he was 18 and this past season went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA, 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings and — oh yeah — he hit 22 homers with a 1.004 OPS in 382 plate appearances. By the way, he does not turn 23 until July.”
I love when new talent is discovered and I love when we can put these new names out there for you to see. If you read BYB, we’ve done it with a ton of Cuban and Japanese players alike over the years. Now Otani is the newest, er, uh… or I should say, he’s a revisit… and I love it!
You’ll be hearing a lot more about this kid now that he’s older and has a chance to one day soon come to the United States.
Be excited… this is fun stuff!