Shoehi Otani, Japanene high school flamethrower has decided to pursue a career in Major League Baseball, breaking the norm of turning professional in Japan first.
Otani who is only 18 years old, will be a hot commodity with a fastball that has hit 100 mph. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has been scouted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, as well as other teams too.
Instead of going in the first round of Thursday’s amateur draft in Japan, Otani has decided to opt for a career in the MLB.
If Otani signs with a major league team, he would become the first potential top draft pick to make a direct jump from high school in Japan to the U.S.
Otani said, “I think I will start in the minor leagues but I want to challenge in the majors. It’s been my dream since entering high school.
This is the right decision for Otani. Now he can go through the proper maturation against U.S. competition in the minor leagues and be ready for a major league career.
Think of the numbers Ichiro Suzuki would have if he made the decision Otani is.
In a 12-year MLB career, Ichiro has 2,606 hits. Before coming to the MLB, Ichiro hit 1,278 hits in a nine-year career in Japan. Combined, Ichiro has 3,884 hits between his Japanese and MLB career.
Pete Rose holds the MLB record with 4,256 hits throughout a 24-year career. Rose averaged a little over 177 hits per year for his career.
Ichiro has averaged a little over 217 hits per year for his MLB career. If he went with the route that Otani is going, Ichiro could have had a great shot at being the all-time hits leader in the MLB.
Otani is making the right choice by pursuing a career in the MLB at an early age, and whoever gets him is looking at getting a future star.
Below is a sample size of Otani where he throws 160 km (100 mph)