International Prospect: Roki Sasaki, RHP, Japan

International Prospect: Roki Sasaki, RHP, Japan

Player: Roki Sasaki
Country: Japan                                                        Position(s): RHP
Height: 6’2″                      Weight: 187 lbs.                       Bats: Right                        Throws: Right
Fastball: Sits high 90s, regularly hits triple digits, touched 102. Heavy downhill action with plenty of run. Genuine plus offering.
Split: 88-92, as good as you will see. Absolutely falls off the table, can add cut to it as well. 70 grade potential offering.
Slider: 87-88, 2 plane sharp. Above average on it’s own, plays better thanks to FB and split.
Curve: Rarely used.
Delivery/Mechanics: Very much a Japanese style pitcher with the high leg kick that can be varied to alter timing, although doesn’t vary it often. Stretch only whether runners on or not, calms leg kick significantly with runners on without losing rythym or seeing a reduction in stuff. Hand pump before dropping down to hip and extremely fast up to his 3/4 slot and gets good extension. Excellent balance through delivery gets good leg drive. Repeats the delivery well and shows 60 grade command.
Other: Father died in 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Forced to become man of the house at early age. Made Japanese senior debut at WBC on the 12th anniversary of the tragedy. Threw a perfect game with 19 strikeouts, then went eight perfect in his next outing before being pulled. 192.2 innings in two NPB seasons, 2.10 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, WHIP 0.882. Absolutely dominant and is only 21. Not eligible to be posted until at least 2025.
Summary: Quite possibly not only the highest upside of any Japanese pitcher of all time, he might be the best pitcher in the world right now. His WBC debut was against the Czech Republic which is a club loaded with guys with day jobs, but MLB veteran Eric Sogard is on the team and once visibly stepped out of the box and simply said “wow” while facing Sasaki. He has two truly elite offerings in his fastball and his splitter to go along with a slider that is above average now and flashes plus. Has excellent command.

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