(Must watch vid)
UPDATE: He topped out at 157 kph in this game, this is not even his fastest fastball velocity. He’s pretty much just toying these hitters.
Japanese phenom, 21 year old ace starting pitcher Shohei Otani of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters just made a pitching start against the Busan Lotte Giants of the KBO just today, and boy oh boy, it was awesome… Based from the video above, more than 50 scouts/personnel, from at least 15 MLB teams out of 30 ML clubs were in attendance in that game, a large amount of Japanese spectators and media outlets were also present. Even some from the KBO league were also there to check on Otani.
In that game, Shohei Otani pitched 2 innings of work (25 pitches thrown), striking out 4 and no walks… while only allowing one hit (a single) to Hwang Jae-gyun (he’ll be there in the bigs soon, kinda surprised he didn’t flipped his bat in this game). In the video (0:13-0:30), out of 15 Major league teams… only 3 scouts from 3 different ML teams (Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres (mentioned), and Milwaukee Brewers) were the only ones being interviewed and mentioned here, in English (subs aren’t), all were very impressed to see Otani’s pitching performance in that game. Days ago during batting practice, he also impressed some of the San Diego Padres scouts in regards to his hitting skills, especially former all-star infielder and special assistant to the Baseball operations staff… Mark Loretta, complimenting Otani’s power and bat speed… Yesterday, before this game by the way (teammate Yuki Saito was pitching, and Otani was used as DH against Busan). One scout from the San Francisco Giants who attended that game also admired Otani’s power and hitting ability that he currently possess for a starting pitcher.
Otani said that he still needs a lot to improve to call himself Major League ready, and he said he really enjoyed the experience that he’s had thus far. His dreams will stay the same, and it will never change… to be a Major leaguer. Otani said in an interview last month that he would like to play for a Major league team that wants him as both pitcher/non-pitcher if he gets posted, he is willing to accept even less money just for him to have a chance to play as pitcher/non-pitcher.
(See Otani’s complete highlights in this game)
If anyone’s interested, here are some International prospects in Asia that we’ll soon likely see in the MLB (expressed some interest playing in the Major Leagues), other than Shohei Otani.