Shohei Otani Deciding Between Japan, MLB

OCTOBER 19TH: Otani is set to decide between playing in MLB and staying in Japan on Monday, according to a report from Sanspo (Japanese link) passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).

OCTOBER 11TH: High school pitcher Shohei Otani, 18, is being courted by every NPB team and at least three Major League teams, reports WEEI.com's Alex Speier.  The Red Sox, Dodgers and Rangers have all sent representatives to Japan to meet with Otani, and Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News notes that the Orioles also have interest in the right-hander.

Despite his young age, Otani is already 6'4" and 190 pounds and owns a fastball that has been clocked in the 99-100 mph range.  MLB teams wouldn't have to pay a posting fee to sign Otani as he isn't contracted to any Japanese pro team. 


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87 Comments on "Shohei Otani Deciding Between Japan, MLB"


baseball52
2 years 10 months ago

Ooo, looks neat.

LiveFastCyYoung
2 years 10 months ago

Isn’t this sort of against unspoken rules for MLB teams to go after Japanese talent like this? Isn’t this what happened with Baltimore, albeit with a Korean player?

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

I don’t think so. In the Korea case, their biggest issue was that the O’s didn’t let KPB know they were courting him, and that he was “underage” even though he was a high school senior.

It’s nice to see that signing Chen has had the bigger impact on the organization beyond his success on the field. We also had success with Koji, and Wada was a successful player in Japan as well despite his injury and not pitching in 2012. Hopefully we can start competing in that market as well.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
2 years 10 months ago

The Orioles are going to have to spend Chef. Despite rumored interest in Cespedes and my rumor of Aoki. Angelos doesn’t want to cough up the coin to pay the posting fee. As for the other competitors, the Dodgers have to be cashed strapped, as well as the Rangers. The Red Sox got rid of a lot of salary with the Dodger trade. Chances are good in the early morning line (odds) for the Red Sox.
As for the here and now, I want the O’s to win tonight! Don’t really care about anything else for now.

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

This is different, though. He’s not under NPL contract, so there is no posting fee. This is one that Angelos might let DD have some coin.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

The O’s biggest issue in Korea that got them into trouble was targeting athletes before they graduated from HS and nearly got ALL of their scouts banned from the country.. Nothing else..

Some countries (Pacific Rim IFA) actually place a higher priority on an education than some busco getting some kid to run 60yd dashes and hit BP who cannot even read and write…

jlasovage
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah thought mlb wasnt supposed to go after Japanese amateur players.but it is interesting thought
100 @ 18 yrs old.

RobertGKramer
2 years 10 months ago

You’re remembering the ill feeling in Japan when the Red Sox signed Junichi Tazawa!

vtadave
2 years 10 months ago

Shohei Otani is loosely translated as “Sidd Finch”. 100 mph at age 18?

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

Dylan Bundy. It happens.

WisBrave
2 years 10 months ago

Brian Taylor. It happens.

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

Taylor threw very hard right up until he was in that car accident.

not_brooks
2 years 10 months ago

What car accident?

Taylor destroyed his shoulder in a bar fight.

mstrchef
2 years 10 months ago

Then apparently I didn’t recall correctly.

jondogg2010
2 years 10 months ago

Let’s go Red Sox, get this done!

East Coast Bias
2 years 10 months ago

My money’s on the Dodgers.

ieblue
2 years 10 months ago

It wouldn’t surprise me. The new management has shown that they are willing to go out and be competitive in signing international prospects unlike McCourt.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

Some additional tidbits: The Dodgers sent Logan White to talk with Otani and his family and tried to sell him on the Dodgers’ track record signing players from Japan. The Rangers sent Jim Colborn, who used to be the pitching coach and scout for the Dodgers, and who speaks Japanese (and was responsible for some of the Dodgers success with signing players from Japan). Also, if Otani skips the NPB draft he forfeits eligibility for the Japanese baseball draft for three years. Big decisions for a very young man. If he does decide to come here, I’d give an edge to the Rangers.

dc21892
2 years 10 months ago

Boston better keep their interest in him. That could be a serious arm to add to the system.

johnsilver
2 years 10 months ago

They have 19YO Frank Montas throwing 100mph and he has -0- clue which direction (pretty much) the ball is even going after he throws it.

Just because some of the 18-19YO kids have 1 pitch, a 98-100mph fb that they can’t control does not make them really good prospects, unless everything about how they approach the game can be torn down, rebuilt and that velocity maintained and then add at least 1 workable off speed pitch to the mix.

dc21892
2 years 10 months ago

That’s why I said “could”

Leonard Washington
2 years 10 months ago

Boston. Done.

2 years 10 months ago

Then years later we’ll find out by age 18 he’s logged five 200+ innings seasons with injury problems galore.

MadmanTX
2 years 10 months ago

He ‘ll undoubtedly want to follow his hero Yu Darvish and play for the Rangers. All other teams need not apply.

go_jays_go
2 years 10 months ago

Dodgers and Hideo Nomo or Hiroki Kuroda?

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

And Ishii.

Ken Chia-Hung Wu
2 years 10 months ago

Don’t forget about Saito as well

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

I was gonna add Saito after but didn’t want to edit my post haha. Good call

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

Maybe so, and that is the sales pitch (so to speak) that the Dodgers will use. But none of these players are around anymore, some of them pitched before Otani was even born, and for a young man from Japan it will probably be important for him to have someone he can talk to other than his translator. That’s why I give an edge to the Rangers.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

Thats no doubt part of the Rangers pitch. At the same time, the Dodgers will more than likely say they have developed all these guys into top MLB players and they have had nice careers either in LA or elsewhere. It’ll be interesting, no doubt

One more thing: remember, He isnt going to start in the majors. So while Darvish can talk to him, he isnt going to be rooming with him or something

Gumby65
2 years 10 months ago

But these guys are legends in Japan, most notably Nomo

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
2 years 10 months ago

I get that, but I imagine the homesick and culture shock factors would loom large. He’s just a teenager, and evidently has never been out of Japan. By the same token, LA has a large Japanese population. I think that’s one of the reasons Kuroda felt comfortable here.

NYPOTENCE
2 years 10 months ago

Rangers can stay home and just watch other teams play playoff ball

oz10
2 years 10 months ago

and now you can join us with just as great of a collapse, just on a bigger stage.

NYPOTENCE
2 years 10 months ago

Collapse? What losing to a team that just happened to beat the Oakland Athletics and JUST happened to represent the American league in the World Series? No that is not called a collapse that is simply called losing to the better team. You want to know what is a collapse? The Rangers losing their vast lead in the division and then being forced into submission by the Orioles.

oz10
2 years 10 months ago

Red Sox. Down 0-3. All I need to say. Most wins in the AL this year, get swept. This is where you mention all your rings. It is the yank comeback to everything.

NYPOTENCE
2 years 10 months ago

Yeah, except you weren’t referring to that collapse at first. Your first comment implies that you are referring to the Yankee-Detroit series which was not a collapse at all the Yankees simply lost to the team which was playing better at the time. As for collapses let’s not forget that your Rangers were one out away from winning the World series…TWICE and they still can’t get it done.

TXHC
2 years 10 months ago

SWEEP!

2 years 10 months ago

This kid wont sign with any MLB, he wont leave his family at such age. Remember that even for 25-30yrs old have admitted is a difficult culture for them.

strikethree
2 years 10 months ago

A couple of mil might get him to change his mind. It’s what gets international players here in the first place: money.

It would certainly get me more inclined to go. It’s not like you’re going to an underdeveloped country. At that age, it’ll be like moving out of home for college. Plus, you’re more inclined to move and travel when you’re young.

In the end, they’re doing it for their families because they would make so much more here.

Tesseract
2 years 10 months ago

I wouldn’t call transitioning from the japanese culture to the american culture “like moving out of home for college”

Morley C
2 years 10 months ago

Tell it to the thousands of Japanese students studying abroad.

BK
2 years 10 months ago

Unlikely Predication: Angels spend their first international dollar in three years on this guy.

JacobyWanKenobi
2 years 10 months ago

It wasn’t stated, but the Angels and Orioles also scouted him and had reps travel to meet with him. Heck, this may be worth the risk for a few teams if there’s no posting fee.

go_jays_go
2 years 10 months ago

Also consider this part:

“Every team will have $2.9MM to spend on international bonuses this offseason, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan.
Eventually the limits will be in the $1.8-5MM range, according to
Passan. Starting in 2013-14, teams will be able to trade money from
their spending allowance for international players, according to Passan (all Twitter links). However, teams can only boost their original spending limit by 50% through trades. ”

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/cba-details-luxury-tax-draft-.html

*Since Otani is not signed to an NPB team, he does not go through the posting system, BUT he counts towards international bonuses.

Tesseract
2 years 10 months ago

No shot

Dynasty22
2 years 10 months ago

Cashman…where are you at?

2 years 10 months ago

If he throws that hard and has that type of body at 18, I can’t believe that EVERY team isn’t after him. You’d be moronic not to be.

go_jays_go
2 years 10 months ago

Depends on how much you are willing to pay. Since Otani is not signed to a NPB team, he does not go through the posting system, but he falls under the new international spending rules.

It might suck for MLB if he signs with an NPB team, BUT that would be good for Japanese baseball.

Tesseract
2 years 10 months ago

Right… doesn’t mean that not every team wants him. Is just that some teams prefer not to spend millions on one amateur player and simply step out of the ring

MLB_in_the_Know
2 years 10 months ago

It’s interesting because every team has a $3 million international signings cap for the year. Maybe some team will use their entire budget on him if he is that good.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

There is some rule that not all guys apply to that pool. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but he may not be part of it

melonis_rex
2 years 10 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the pool doesn’t apply to guys who are pitching in NPB and it doesn’t affect the posting system in Japan (so the Yu Darvish posting and contract can happen under the new CBA).

Otani’s an amateur so the pool should apply there.

It might make financial sense for Otani to pitch in NPB for a few years and then venture into MLB when he’s no longer subject to the IFA signings cap, considering that he’d probably have to spend time in the minors before pitching in the MLB.

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

After asking around, yes you are correct it seems. It could make sense for him to pitch, but that does eventually require teams to post him, something they may do at their pace, not his

withpower
2 years 10 months ago

Personally, I don’t like it. The unwritten agreement exists for a reason.

sarcasm_robot
2 years 10 months ago

what are you a wise-guy or something? geeet outta heeere

carlos
2 years 10 months ago

So let me understand this. No posting fee so its based on that new rule where teams top out at 3 million. so this is going to be about persuasion not money?

lakersdodgersyankees4life
2 years 10 months ago

basically, yes

OldStyle_NewCubs
2 years 10 months ago

I’m surprised to not see the Cubs on the list. They’re looking for “waves” of pitching talent and “power arms.” This sounds like something they’d be all over. That said, I’m surprised there weren’t three teams mentioned that were NOT in on the kid.

Karkat
2 years 10 months ago

Yeesh, what a decision at 18 o.o

I’d say he should come to Boston, but come on, that’s just not happening.

TheOnlyBravesFan
2 years 10 months ago

Wish Atlanta would go after him… we could use another good pitching prospect, especially a power arm.

Tko11
Tko11
2 years 10 months ago

They have enough

dc21892
2 years 10 months ago

You can never have too much pitching.

2 years 10 months ago

cant believe astros not in on this. kinda disappointing for a fan