Many Teams Interested in Japanese Pitcher Otani

by kelly on October 22, 2012

Japanese high school pitcher Shohei Otani has declared that he will seek a contract in Major League Baseball instead of playing professionally in Japan, ESPN has reported. Many MLB teams are already showing interested in the 18-year-old righty, who is the first Japanse player to skip the Japanese league completely and play ball professionally in the United States.

The 6-foot-4 Otani has intrigued scouts with his high velocity, as his fastball clocks at 99 to 100 miles per hour. He was expected to be a first round draft pick in Japan’s amateur draft, but now he is being pursued by the likes of the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers. Texas could be considered the early frontrunner after they signed Japanese superstar Yu Darvish last winter.

Once he signs with a major league team, Otani will likely spend some time in minor league ball rather than jump to the majors right away. Still, he is definitely setting a new precedent for international free agents coming to MLB.

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