Chiba Lotte Marines’ Roki Sasaki, 23, has been told that he must first earn the trust of his teammates in order to reach the major leagues.
“It’s not just the five Pacific League teams that Sasaki will have to contend with,” said Nikkan Gendai on Feb. 2. He needs the sympathy of his teammates to challenge the major leagues.”
Sasaki is a highly touted prospect with a fastball in excess of 160 kilometers per hour and a sharp forkball. In 46 career Nippon Professional Baseball games (283⅔ innings), he is 19-10 with a 2.00 ERA and 376 strikeouts.
After joining the Chiba Lotte organization as a first-round pick in 2020, Sasaki was heavily managed in his rookie year, not appearing in a single first-team game to ensure his body was ready for the professional league. In 2021, he showed promise, going 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 11 games (63⅓ innings) and emerging as a national ace in 2022, 토토사이트 when he became the youngest pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball history to throw a perfect game. He also had a good season, going 9-4 with a 2.02 ERA in 20 games (129⅓ innings).
Sasaki represented Japan at the World Baseball Classic last March and was a key part of the team’s victory.
However, he was hampered by injuries during the regular season last year. After suffering from blisters on his fingers, a side muscle injury, and missing most of the second half of the season, Sasaki finished with a 7-4 record and a 1.78 ERA in 15 games (91 innings). He has yet to complete a full season of regulation innings.
Sasaki asked Chiba Lotte to allow him to post after last season ended. Major League Baseball teams have been watching Sasaki with interest. However, Chiba Lotte declined the request, citing Sasaki’s lack of experience. “If it were me, I would feel that I should give back to the club a little more,” said Chiba Lotte manager Masato Yoshii, adding that he would allow Sasaki to play in the major leagues if he performed well enough. Sasaki was at odds with the major league club over the move and was at risk of preparing for the season on his own dime at worst, but eventually agreed to a contract for an estimated annual salary of 80 million yen (about $721.6 million).
After his stay with Chiba Lotte was confirmed,
Sasaki held a press conference and said, “I apologize to the fans for causing them worry. I would like to go to the Major Leagues in the future. But for now, my priority is to show a good performance this season.”
Sasaki, who is preparing for the season at Chiba Lotte’s spring training camp in Okinawa, Japan, said, “First of all, I want to surpass my performance from last year and the year before. I was not satisfied with my performance last year.”
Nikkan Gendai concludes, “Although Chiba Lotte has managed to resolve the controversy, it is true that Sasaki and the club were at odds until just before camp over his entry into the major leagues. “There is speculation that he could make it to the major leagues as early as the end of the season, but what he needs to do to improve on last year’s performance is to gain the sympathy of his teammates,” Nikangendai said, pointing out that Sasaki needs to show that he has changed.
“Baseball is a team sport,” the outlet emphasized, “and without the help of your teammates, you can’t pitch long innings or win game after game. Because of the offseason drama, Sasaki’s teammates have a perception of him as “selfish. 토토사이트 순위 He’ll need to perform to overturn that perception.” “It’s not just the opposition that Sasaki has to deal with. It’s not just his opponents that he’ll have to deal with, but also his teammates, who will think that after contributing so much to the team’s victories, it’s only natural that he should challenge for the major leagues.”