Rintaro Sasaki intends to continue his baseball career in the United States. In an unprecedented move, the top high school prospect in Japan did not submit his name for the Nippon Professional Baseball draft.
Because this has never occurred, there is no road map for an elite prospect to go to a U.S. college and then to Major League Baseball. As the consensus top prospect, the presumption was that Sasaki would be the No. 1-overall pick in the upcoming NPB draft.
Huge late night news as 17-year-old Japanese sensation Rintaro Sasaki will forgo the NBP Draft and attend college in the United States. Walloped a Japanese HS record 140 HRs and hit over .400. 6-foot, 250-pound behemoth with top of the scale raw power. pic.twitter.com/48mQrscX3l
— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) October 10, 2023
However, by forgoing his home country’s top baseball league, Sasaki will be eligible for the MLB Draft earlier thanks to bypassing MLB’s international amateur rules.
The 6-foot, 250-pound first baseman is Japan’s high school leader in home runs (140), and set the record while playing for his father, Hiroshi, at Hanamaki-Higashi High School. It’s the same school that Shohei Ohtani starred at while also playing under Hiroshi.
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While Sasaki has not decided on a college yet, he reportedly has Vanderbilt as his top school. The Commodores won the College World Series in 2014 and 2019, and finished as the NCAA Tournament runner-up in 2021.
According to Baseball America, Sasaki hit .413/.514/.808 and was walked twice as many times as he was struck out.