There seems to be quite an influx of talent coming from Japan and Korea this year. Is this going to be more prevalent in the years to come? Who’s the next player fans in America should watch for?
Look out for an explosion of talent in the next few years in both Korea and Japan. The kids coming out from high school are more athletic than ever and their skills are much more refined than what I have noticed from similar age players in the USA. Work ethic is a very important aspect of the baseball regimen here and I haven’t seen the same level of discipline in American high school baseball.
I think Shohei Otani is the name that pops up as #1 on most lists that I’ve seen among baseball teams. The Red Sox were very close to landing the kid before the Fighters made the pitch of the century to keep him. Otani will be in the majors at some point (may take a few years) but the 160+ kph fastball, improving mechanics, projectable durability, and the ability to hit a baseball as well makes him a unique talent. He’s going to be seeing major dollars once he enters the posting process. Expect a bidding war of the ages.
I’m intrigued to see 25-year-old outfielder/first baseman Sho Nakata make the jump to the MLB. Big power, developing plate discipline and recognition. I think his skills and age would make him a very attractive option for MLB teams. He’s had a desire to play in the majors in the past and he’s also fond of the Yankees as well. He may just be the next big bat from Japan to come to the MLB.