When I leave Japan, I will be the best pitcher.”
Rocky Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines is the next-generation ‘ace’ who will lead the Japanese professional baseball following Shohei Otani (LA Angels) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes). is cited as Since his high school days, he has been in the spotlight by throwing fast balls that travel over 160 km, but it was last year that he started to stand out in earnest.
Sasaki struck out 13 consecutive batters against the Orix Buffaloes at the beginning of the season, setting an unofficial world record, creating a ‘perfect game’ that surprised the world. Although Sasaki could not play the full season due to a finger blister injury and physical problems, he appeared in 20 games and recorded an excellent record of 9-4 with a 2.02 ERA and was named to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team.
Although his photographic talent is so outstanding, Sasaki also showed a step forward growth in a short period of time. Sasaki broke his personal best velocity by throwing a fastball of up to 165 km in a practice match in preparation for the WBC. This was a record that stood shoulder to shoulder with Ohtani’s highest Japanese speed.
His performance in the WBC was certainly impressive too. Sasaki started against the Czech Republic in the Group B group stage and struck out 8 in 3⅔ innings바카라, giving up 1 run (1 earned run) and earning his first win in an international tournament. And he marked 3 runs (3 earned) in 4 innings in front of 64 major league scouts in the quarterfinal match against Mexico.
Sasaki’s performance during the quarterfinals was obviously disappointing, but the process wasn’t too bad. Sasaki recorded a three-way offense, including two strikeouts in the first inning, and overcame the crisis of conceding runs in the second inning with double play. And he continued cruising by tying up the Mexican batting line again in the third inning. However, after two outs in the fourth inning, he was hit by a three-run four by Luis Urias in a run crisis. It wasn’t neat, but thanks to Sasaki blocking Mexico’s hard line with the minimum number of runs, Japan was able to step on the final stage and even lift the championship trophy.
What kind of pitcher is Sasaki who faced off against in the WBC? According to US ‘FOX Sports’, Rowdy Telles, who played the role of ‘4th hitter’ for the Mexican national team, said in an interview with Justin Verlander’s younger brother Ben Verlander, “He is 21 years old. It will be the material,” he praised.
In the 2013 rookie draft, Tellz was nominated by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 895th round in the 30th round and started his professional life, and first stepped on the big league stage in 2018. Telles started to stand out by shooting 21 home runs in 111 games in the 2019 season, and also played an active role with 8 home runs with an OPS of 0.886 in the shortened 2020 season, and changed his uniform to the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2021 season. During the season, he is recording 81 homers, 0.234 OPS and 0.764 in 438 games.
“Sasaki’s splitter changes in all directions. His fastball hits 102 miles (about 164.2 km),” says Telles. It will be very difficult to find a player like Sasaki at age 10. When he leaves Japan, Sasaki will be the best pitcher in Japan.”
Sasaki, who gained experience in international competitions, is continuing a good trend in the regular season. Sasaki earned his first win of the season by fighting Nippon-Ham Fighters at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan on the 6th in his first appearance of the season with 1 hit, 4 pitches, 11 strikeouts and no runs in 6 innings.