Japan Today

Schoolboy pitching sensation chooses Ham Fighters over MLB


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

They will destroy his arm and he will make less money. Bad move kid.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Curious, I thought he was adamant that he was not staying, wonder who put the squeeze on the kid?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They will destroy his arm...

Like they destroyed Darvish's arm when he was drafted out of High School ? ?

...and he will make less money.

In the short term perhaps this is true - but if he turns out to be as good as Darvish then in the long run he may very well make much more when & if he goes to the majors...

...wonder who put the squeeze on the kid? Brow beaten into a reversal...

I have to start giving my wife more credit - this is exactly what she suggested would be said...

Otani was vilified and called names when he suggested he would go to MLB - and now that he has changed his mind he has obviously been put under undue pressure and or brow beaten...

Damed if you do or don't...

Personally, I am happy to see that he is coming to Sapporo and I am certain that he will be given all the respect and time that he needs to properly develop his skill-set...

I never believed for a second that his "going to America" was going to be the fairy tale that he thought it was going to be - 160km fastball or not he would have to of spent a number of years in the minors riding busses and learning English & American culture the hard way - 18 year old high school graduates only get to start in the NBA...

Looking forward to seeing him in action...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

warallthetime...the money, you are correct; but fortunately, it's not all about money like the MLB pukes. 'Destroy his arm', not quite correct; the arm only gets 'destroyed' when the routine changes; for reference, see what the Red Sucks did to Daisuke Matsuzaka's arm.

Japanese baseball is the best baseball in the world. Until someone beats them twice in the WBC, SAMURAI JAPAN!!!

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

18 year old high school graduates only get to start in the NBA...

Not anymore. NBA rule now states they need to be at least 1 year out of high school.

Anyways recently, MLB 2012 Rookie of the Year winners Bryce Harper started at 19 and Mike Trout at 20, albeit both are field players and grew up in America. Ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg started at 22 only because he stayed in college. There are Latino players who debut in the best league in the world quite young too, though they can have the support of a sizable Latino community all over America. But a handful of young Taiwanese and South Koreans already made the early jump to America before - it seems to be less of an issue with them to go directly. If they can make it with some hard work and talent, it's definitely attainable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some valid points in the comments. I cannot agree that the best baseball in the world is in Japan. I am a lifelong baseball fan and I cannot watch the games here. Japan faces the U.S. in the WBC and the U.S. sends a bunch for college kids to play against NPB players. As a side note I absolutely hate that Japanese baseball ends in a tie. It's silly. I sat through a 0-0 game once here in Fukuoka. Never again.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He'll be watched, where ever he decides to play...

All the best, Shohei!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

He chickened out.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Silly boy.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This was either major social (and national baseball) pressure, or he was offered a LOT of bribe money. In any case the old codgers in the Professional Baseball League can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japanese baseball is dying because it sucks all round. Yomiuri control it (and umpires) and take virtually all the best free agents. There are only a handful of top class players, many amazingly weak batters (some even holding the bat about halfway down the stem!), stupid 3-hour rule to save electricity (while pachinko parlors still blaze away), tied games and first inning bunts the norm. As the Japanese themselves have become bored with the Giants charade, commercial TV coverage has been drastically reduced and soccer is becoming more and more popular in the country and in high schools. If this kid had gone straight to MLB, it would have been another nail in the coffin for the Japanese game. Therefore, it would not be a surprise if the controlling interests of the game here made an under-the-table "special offer" (or threat???) to keep him in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I just wish him the best, no matter where he plays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I guess the above posters didn't listen to his interview in Japanese. He didn't choose Japan. He chose Kuriyama and the Fighters organization. The team is known as being close-knit, like a family. Kuriyama told him that they would work on developing both his pitching and batting skills. He is famous for his 160km fastball, but did anyone know that he hit 56 home runs in high school? Yeah, 56 homers. He wabts to make it as a pitcher but he doesn't want to give up being a hitter either. There are many cases where pitchers became excellent field players or batters (think Ichiro, Babe Ruth). No other team offered such a plan for him. Also, the Fighters are supportive of him eventually leaving for the MLB.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Otani was put under a pressure similar to Masanori Murakami 50 years before... I had really hoped that he would choose the MLB route... but his dream is still to be in the Majors, so Nipponham would be wise in their handling of him...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

billyshears I agree with every one of your points. I am a huge baseball fan. I cannot stomach the way the game is played here.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The pep talk probably went something like.."You'll lose all your friends, be shunned by your school and you'll never ever play baseball here or be accepted by the Japanese people should you return...oh and your mother will miss you and you will have to look after yourself." Boy starts crying like a baby and apologises for so selfishly putting his dreams before the demands of others.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pretty bad move if you asked me. For one like a lot of people said earlier, he will make a lot less money. I think what made him decide to stay in Japan was a lot of guilt / brain washing from his parents, coaches and other people around him. That he should stay in Japan and represent Japan as he would be a national hero and so on. That he should be a patriot and do Japan a BIG favor by staying and playing in the J-League. Also the pressure from his parents about not being able to see him (control his life and money) from here and so on. Either all of that or just too scared to make a change (especially to a English speaking country) without mummy and daddy to be there to take care of his needs. Too bad buddy you just lost an opportunity of a lifetime. Hopefully you will be OK enough to make it to the MLB at a later time and will not be kicking yourself if it does not happen for you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

“I want to repay all the people who have supported me by becoming a pitcher children look up to.”

Weak:, Ichiro inspired more people AFTER he went to the MLB.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Poor arrogant kid. Thought he was the 'stuff' and had the potential, so he steps up, thinkin,' I'll stick it to them, and go play in the majors.' Then, he gets his chance, and keeps at it, until, the old boys of baseball put the strong arm on him, ; next thing you know, he's nothin but a weak kid who had some potential, but blew it. He'll never get any respect on the 'Ham, bescause he already proved he doesn't have the nerve. He will throw out his arm trying to prove himself, he will fail. And when it's all over, he won't even admit he made a mistake. But J baseball doesnt lose face and the bucks keep rolling in. And it only cost one brash kid his ego, his talent, and probably any chance he initially had at going to the MLB, because after this there is no way any team will trust him. I feel for him, I hope he takes care of his family, with the money he does make. But you have to admit it was a Job well done by the Japan Baseball, they got their cake and can eat it too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good luck to the kid. Hope he gets to train up to the MLB and contend with the top players from around the world one of these days. He will always have Matsuzaka and Darvish to look up to and one day follow in their footsteps. I just wouldn't want to be the MLB team to pay the 70 million or whatever it'll cost by then just to talk to the pork slingers when it comes time. Talk about a roll of the dice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

should have came to the Toronto Blue Jays...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chris LoweryDec. 10, 2012 - 08:23PM JST Poor arrogant kid.

U.S. is not everything. U.S. creates selfish environment and maybe for this kid, being closer to home is the best thing for being 18 years old. He sounds like he's very grounded. Let him live his youth the way he wants to. Maybe he rather be close to his family and friends. Money is important but what makes a difference if he gets signing bonus of few million in Japan versus much more in the States? How many steaks can you eat? I hope that the pitching coach and the Manager will limit his pitching count to 100-110 pitches per game. Since he's still growing, let him build his arm up slowly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He didn't "choose" he was bullied into it by his parents via the HAMS

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites