“Postingroid” 2024 Sasaki, “Kim Tae-hyung-ho” became Lotte’s first opponent

Roki Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte) of the Japanese professional baseball team, who is drawing keen attention from Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, has decided to pitch for the first time. It is neither NPB nor MLB team, but the Lotte Giants of the KBO League.꽁머니

Japanese media Nikkan Sports reported on the 11th that “Sasaki’s first appearance of the season has been decided as a practice match against Lotte in Korea on the 25th.” According to Nikkan Sports, Lotte manager Yoshii Masato Chiba told reporters on the last day of the second turn of the team’s spring camp.

The two teams, members of the Korea-Japan Lotte Group, have already scheduled a joint training session this month. Lotte is currently participating in the first camp in Guam. However, the second camp will be held in Okinawa, Japan, which will begin on February 21. The two teams will hold joint training sessions at Nishizaki Baseball Stadium from February 22 and exchange matches twice between February 24 and 25.

The fact that he had an exchange match was known to Korean fans early on. What’s important is whether Sasaki, the ace player of the NPB, will take the mound or not. He is the ace player for the NPB’s representative team who started the starting rotation in March last year at the World Baseball Classic along with Yu Darvish, Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He is capable of performing fastball, high-speed slider and fork ball, which is a record tying for No. 1 in the NPB.

He is already the best among Japanese players in terms of pitching talent. Since joining the team, Chiba Lotte has not played many innings due to its continuous management and injury history. Instead, the quality of the pitch is certain. In 2022, he recorded the 16th perfect game in NPB’s history with 19 strikeouts. He was the youngest player in NPB’s history at 20 years and five months. Last year, he played in only 15 games due to innings management and injuries after playing in the WBC, but he proved his pitching quality to be unrivaled with seven wins and four losses and an ERA of 1.78.

His talent has already been proven. Many MLB clubs are waiting for Sasaki’s application for the posting system (closed competitive bidding). Sasaki also caused a stir this winter with a report that he applied for a posting to the Chiba Lotte club. Although the salary negotiations have been delayed and the player himself said he did not ask for a posting, the U.S.-Japan media believe that he will challenge MLB as soon as possible after performing well enough to obtain permission from the club. As performance is important this season, it is highly likely that his skills are also “complete.” Since one season should be spent without any speed adjustment, Lotte can achieve satisfactory results.

For now, Sasaki is smoothly preparing for this season, which is an important event. Having pitched four bullpen sessions as of Tuesday, Sasaki threw a total of 21 pitches, including fastballs, forks, and sliders. During the four training sessions, he has been working out as planned with a total of 145 pitches. “I am gradually increasing the number of pitches as I am focusing on my training more than usual,” Sasaki said.

Coincidentally, Lotte became the first team to face Sasaki’s “100%” pitch. Except for Jeon Joon-woo, it is highly likely to be the best experience for Lotte batters, who are mainly young players.

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