Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Nikkan Sports article indicating the Rangers sent two scouts to watch high school lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Newman notes that the Dodgers had Logan White watch Kikuchi practice back in March.
Kikuchi is highly regarded, but how does he compare to Junichi Tazawa? Newman told me:
The way I look at it is, Kikuchi is younger, taller, and lefthanded, whereas Tazawa was a older, more polished and had faced better competition. Kikuchi appears to have similar velocity to Tazawa. Tazawa was definitely closer to the big leagues; you wouldn't sign Kikuchi and have him start the season opener in AA. But Kikuchi is a better prospect than Tazawa was when he was 18. So Kikuchi may have a little more upside, but I don't think he would command the same kind of offers Tazawa got. A key difference is that Tazawa had basically made up his mind to come to America by the time I started writing about him. We don't know what Kikuchi's plans are.