Roki Sasaki MLB watch -- 2025 probably?

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Using a few of these as a jumping off point, and sorry I'm missing some good explanatory posts on Roki's status that I've read over the last couple days from iirc @jon abbey @JM3 and others but:

Ha. Dude is seeing what Yamamoto is looking at and says, yeah, I’m interested. But he’s a few years from cashing in due to his age so who knows.
Oh for sure. The article says the team will just refuse to post him, but you never know I guess.
Here's what I wrote exactly a year ago in the Yoshida thread, in response to a question from @ehaz :
Yamamoto will be 25 next August and therefore not impacted by the international bonus pool age cap thing that Ohtani got caught up in, if he goes for 2024. Posting rules have changed gradually over the years but actually the Japanese teams tend to lose leverage/financial incentives each time. It's usually a more qualitative process these days - has the player given the team enough good years, did he win any individual awards, did the team win any pennants/championships with him, etc. The answer with Yamamoto is yes to all of those. Financially there will be at least some incentive to post him I guess because if he stays healthy in 2023 he should get a pretty massive deal.

Roki just turned 21 and I think is more likely to go for the 2025 season than 2024, but to me there's no way he waits four more years til he's 25. I'd call 2024 maybe 25%, 2025 70% and later than that 5%. I just made those #'s up though.

edit: they both have every intention of going though; they were interviewed together after the ASG this year and both unequivocally voiced their desire to go.
So this news this morning about Roki saying he wants to go isn't hugely surprising, but I would note a couple of things:
- The article in Japanese says that Roki actually asked to go NOW, for the 2024 season. The sources given for that are "several people with affiliations to MLB" so I don't know if this is considered a leak or what.
- Article points out what is probably Chiba Lotte's argument and notes he's never pitched a full season in Japan, and needs to stay healthy for a full season here, before challenging himself in the Majors and getting only 4 days rest instead of 6. As an aside I think that's probably kind of a weak argument; most MLB teams are smart enough these days to manage workloads.
- The article notes that there's only a week left in this year's posting window, so while it's still possible he could go for 2024, his current team (Chiba Lotte Marines) is expected to deny the request anyway. It's not that surprising I guess; he just turned 22 and as I noted above the posting process is often a subjective one, with the team using some arbitrary benchmarks to determine if the player has paid his dues.
- When he does go, if it's any season before 2027, he'll be under 25 and therefore subject to the MLB international bonus pool restrictions, same as Ohtani was in 2017. The fact that this news came out the same day Ohtani signed for $700 million I think is just coincidence; I don't think he saw the headline and was like ooh yeah let me get some of that. Even 18 months ago at the 2022 ASG, as I noted, he was saying he wants to go eventually.
- The fact that he'll be capped contract-wise means the Sox better start accumulating bonus pool money now I guess.

It would be an amazing wrinkle in this offseason if he was posted in the next few days.
 

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Thanks @TokyoSox. I'd guess he feels like there is no harm in asking? I know loyalty is different over there, but it's also a given that top players want to go to MLB, so it wouldn't be taken as overly disrespectful. And as a negotiation tactic, it's a good loss-leader, where it increases the pressure on the team to post him for 2025. Probably nothing more than that.
 

Tokyo Sox

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What’s the most Roki could get right now?
Someone here will definitely know the international bonus pool rules better than me but I believe his actual contract would be required to be a minor league deal, so assuming he spent the whole season with a big league club, he'd make the MLB minimum of 740k.

Regarding the signing bonus, teams have somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 million total but I assume for most teams, a lot of that is already committed. This was an issue when Ohtani was signing too - a few teams could have offered him a $2m bonus, others had $5m left, etc.
 

jon abbey

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The way I understand it, he would cost himself even more money by coming early than people are figuring, unless I'm confused.

If he comes any season before winter 2026/2027, he will be under control of the team he signs with for 6/7 years, so hypothetically if he came after 2024, he would be an unrestricted FA after 2030 or 2031 when he will be 29 or 30.

If he comes in winter 2026/27 as everyone expected before today, he will immediately be an unrestricted FA at 25 or 26, like Yamamoto now.

That is quite possibly hundreds of millions in difference in the FA deals, and that's not even factoring that for the 2026/27 road he just has to stay healthy until then but to make real FA money if he comes sooner, he will have to stay healthy for 4-5 additional seasons.

Anyway, some or all of that might be wrong but that's how I understand it.
 

jon abbey

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Ohtani earned just over $12M total in his first five seasons with LA before $30M this year, that is criminal. I've been saying here for a while that I hope he gets an extra few hundred million on his next deal to make up for that, looks like he did.

"Ohtani earned $42,269,259 in his six seasons with the Angels. After receiving a signing bonus of $2,315,000 with his initial deal, he had salaries of $545,000, $650,000, $259,259 (in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season), $3 million, $5.5 million and $30 million."
 

simplicio

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As I just posted in the Ohtani thread, I kinda expect more Japanese star HS kids to start following Rintaro Sasaki's (no relation) lead and coming over for college ball in the US, bypassing the NPB entirely.

I wonder if Rintaro's choice is putting more pressure on Roki's team to post him, cause they obviously don't want to be missing out on their local guys entirely if the NPB comes to be seen as a bad choice for young players.
 

jon abbey

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The posting fee to the club will be much larger if it is 2026-27 than if it's earlier as it's based on the size of the first contract, that will also be tricky to navigate.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Why would one of the best pitchers in Japan sign a minor league contract?
Because that's about all he could do if he leaves this early. And collusion to form the potential triumvirate with Yamamoto and Ohtani.

People are saying it's a coincidence he asked out the same day Ohtani announced his contract... I don't buy it.
 
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Because that's about all he could do if he leaves this early. And collusion to form the potential triumvirate with Yamamoto and Ohtani.

People are saying it's a coincidence he asked out the same day Ohtani announced his contract... I don't buy it.
No, he would just come over as a pre-arb player without full free agency, just like Ohtani did. He wouldn't have to sign a minor league deal.
 

Tokyo Sox

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As I just posted in the Ohtani thread, I kinda expect more Japanese star HS kids to start following Rintaro Sasaki's (no relation) lead and coming over for college ball in the US, bypassing the NPB entirely.

I wonder if Rintaro's choice is putting more pressure on Roki's team to post him, cause they obviously don't want to be missing out on their local guys entirely if the NPB comes to be seen as a bad choice for young players.
Right, BSF asked a related question a few days ago and I didn't really have an answer:
Are Japanese teams feeling pressure about keeping talent? 3 guys are going to rake in a billion dollars this year. Guys like Roki and Munetaka must be seeing dollar signs themselves. I wonder if Japanese teams are worried about turning into a feeder system.
Roki made JPY 80M this year, or about USD 550k. Assuming he stays, he'll get a bump for next year but probably not much beyond about USD 1.5M if I had to guess. Japanese player deals while they're still under team control vary year to year -- some guys get a bump, some guys take a paycut. As @Hank Scorpio just noted, even the very top guys in the league only get about USD 4M a year.

So I think the answer to @simplicio 's and @BigSoxFan 's questions are both yes -- Japanese teams are probably feeling pressure about keeping talent, and about keeping talent happy. It's a difficult balance. I have to think salaries will start to go up here a bit but things can be quite slow to change here in general, and the whole system needs an overhaul.

Why would one of the best pitchers in Japan sign a minor league contract?
Because that's about all he could do if he leaves this early. And collusion to form the potential triumvirate with Yamamoto and Ohtani.
As I noted upthread, I believe that's how the process would have to work at his age (22). It's the same thing Ohtani did -- sign a minor league deal, but be with the big club the whole time so make the MLB minimum.

People are saying it's a coincidence he asked out the same day Ohtani announced his contract... I don't buy it.
I'd be surprised if today is the day he asked out, I think it's just the day that it leaked. But I agree with your earlier point that the Dodgers would now be the front-runners. If there's one thing the WBC made clear it's that a lot of these younger guys completely idolize Ohtani and are in awe of him.
 
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Tokyo Sox

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The posting fee to the club will be much larger if it is 2026-27 than if it's earlier as it's based on the size of the first contract, that will also be tricky to navigate.
If you mean that Chiba Lotte are more likely to keep denying the request until he's 25 for the bigger payday to the team, I don't think that will be an issue. This story leaking today -- with the info that he's actually still trying to go this year -- to me basically cements a posting for this time next year. If he's healthy in 2024, and turns in any kind of half decent season, I think they basically have to let him go. Yes it'll still technically be up to the team, but I read today's news as expectation management more than anything else.

One thing I'd like to note is that while all else equal of course NPB players want to make money, testing themselves against the best in the world is often a large part of the decision process. It was imho the overriding factor in Ohtani's original decision to come over. Of course they can't be treated as a monolith but Roki has very little left to prove here and at this point it would absolutely shock me if he was still pitching in Japan in 2026.
 

chrisfont9

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No, he would just come over as a pre-arb player without full free agency, just like Ohtani did. He wouldn't have to sign a minor league deal.
Right, so he could actually sign a Wander Franco style deal as soon as they know he can make the adjustment. Or he starts his clock sooner. In theory a team could pay him the least amount in those six years, but they'd be saying goodbye after that.
 

Manuel Aristides

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Right, so he could actually sign a Wander Franco style deal as soon as they know he can make the adjustment. Or he starts his clock sooner. In theory a team could pay him the least amount in those six years, but they'd be saying goodbye after that.
Even at his age, it's hard to imagine a deal where it makes sense for the team to give up their 6-7 years of arb control. I realize that's what Wander (and Acuña etc) did, but, I think it's a little different for a position player, and for a guy that the org has had in-house for several years: the Rays presumably had years of data and scouting to back up the conclusion that the presumed discount they were buying on the second half of Wander's deal was sufficiently assured that they could give up the incredible value that is team control. (Which, uh... whoops. Seems they gathered the wrong data.)

I guess your "as soon as they know he can make the adjustment" implies it would maybe be a year or three before they did such a deal, and that makes a little more sense to me. But we've seen how conscious MLB teams have become of the value of controlled players, especially controlled pitching, and I just don't think anyone would take the risk on extending a pitcher to a 10-12 year deal when you can essentially go year-to-year for half that time.

It's not at all a bad idea on paper, I just don't see it happening. That said I bet Anaheim was wishing they made a bigger effort for this kind of deal right now...
 

BigSoxFan

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Even at his age, it's hard to imagine a deal where it makes sense for the team to give up their 6-7 years of arb control. I realize that's what Wander (and Acuña etc) did, but, I think it's a little different for a position player, and for a guy that the org has had in-house for several years: the Rays presumably had years of data and scouting to back up the conclusion that the presumed discount they were buying on the second half of Wander's deal was sufficiently assured that they could give up the incredible value that is team control. (Which, uh... whoops. Seems they gathered the wrong data.)

I guess your "as soon as they know he can make the adjustment" implies it would maybe be a year or three before they did such a deal, and that makes a little more sense to me. But we've seen how conscious MLB teams have become of the value of controlled players, especially controlled pitching, and I just don't think anyone would take the risk on extending a pitcher to a 10-12 year deal when you can essentially go year-to-year for half that time.

It's not at all a bad idea on paper, I just don't see it happening. That said I bet Anaheim was wishing they made a bigger effort for this kind of deal right now...
You don’t think someone would go 11/182 for Roki this very minute? Because I absolutely would based on his potential and age. He’s a better pitcher than Yamamoto and people are about to throw $300M at him despite the same lack of MLB experience. And Roki is 3+ years younger. Even if he went belly up, the contract wouldn’t be that big of a deal for a big market team. The Sox deal with more “waste” every year.
 

Manuel Aristides

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You don’t think someone would go 11/182 for Roki this very minute? Because I absolutely would based on his potential and age. He’s a better pitcher than Yamamoto and people are about to throw $300M at him despite the same lack of MLB experience. And Roki is 3+ years younger. Even if he went belly up, the contract wouldn’t be that big of a deal for a big market team. The Sox deal with more “waste” every year.
On the open market? Without question. Twice that, probably. But you would go 11/182 if you had 6/40 (actually 1/.5, 1/.75, 1/1, 1/3, 1/5.5, and 1/30) in hand? Essentially, you're agreeing to beginning a 5/140 contract five years in advance because you think that five years from now he'll cost more than 5/140 (which he will, IF he's as advertised... but really it's the years, not the AAV, that will explode). And it's actually even more extreme than this comparison suggets because year-by-year contracts will protect against injury, ineffectiveness, etc, and I used Ohtani's Arb numbers which, obviously few others will approach.

I think it's an open question, especially for a pitcher, especially for one changing leagues/continents. I'm not saying I can't imagine any team/player doing it, but... the math feels against it. You get so much insurance by just using your team control.

(Edit: as always, the wisdom is probably in compromise. Extending Sasaki after his hypothetical year 2 or year 3 performance will be more expensive naturally, but might be the wise hedge between these extremes. And I agree big market teams CAN take such risks, but, that doesn't mean there isn't a more practical path)
 

BigSoxFan

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On the open market? Without question. Twice that, probably. But you would go 11/182 if you had 6/40 (actually 1/.5, 1/.75, 1/1, 1/3, 1/5.5, and 1/30) in hand? Essentially, you're agreeing to beginning a 5/140 contract five years in advance because you think that five years from now he'll cost more than 5/140 (which he will, IF he's as advertised... but really it's the years, not the AAV, that will explode). And it's actually even more extreme than this comparison suggets because year-by-year contracts will protect against injury, ineffectiveness, etc, and I used Ohtani's Arb numbers which, obviously few others will approach.

I think it's an open question, especially for a pitcher, especially for one changing leagues/continents. I'm not saying I can't imagine any team/player doing it, but... the math feels against it. You get so much insurance by just using your team control.

(Edit: as always, the wisdom is probably in compromise. Extending Sasaki after his hypothetical year 2 or year 3 performance will be more expensive naturally, but might be the wise hedge between these extremes. And I agree big market teams CAN take such risks, but, that doesn't mean there isn't a more practical path)
Yup. My calculus really doesn’t change in that scenario. I think he is a special talent and pitching tends to translate better from NPB than hitting. There would surely be some risk for the team because you just never know but I think his talent is so special that I’d gladly take that risk, especially as a fan of a team with no real prospects anywhere near what his upside looks like. Truthfully, I think he would sacrifice a ton of money even going this route.
 

Manuel Aristides

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Yup. My calculus really doesn’t change in that scenario. I think he is a special talent and pitching tends to translate better from NPB than hitting. There would surely be some risk for the team because you just never know but I think his talent is so special that I’d gladly take that risk, especially as a fan of a team with no real prospects anywhere near what his upside looks like. Truthfully, I think he would sacrifice a ton of money even going this route.
Fair enough. I don't know the player very well so I can't say you're wrong there. Perhaps I'm being overly analytical, I just can't get to that commitment knowing that I have such a wildly efficient alternative during which I can always decide to do a version of your path. Reasonable minds, and all that. Appreciate the perspective.

(edit because I keep hitting post too soon: I agree that by signing the kind of contract you suggest, Sasaki would trade big dollars for certainty up front. I would say the Ohtani contract, even if not a perfect analogue, pretty definitively proves that.)
 

BigSoxFan

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Fair enough. I don't know the player very well so I can't say you're wrong there. Perhaps I'm being overly analytical, I just can't get to that commitment knowing that I have such a wildly efficient alternative during which I can always decide to do a version of your path. Reasonable minds, and all that. Appreciate the perspective.

(edit because I keep hitting post too soon: I agree that by signing the kind of contract you suggest, Sasaki would trade big dollars for certainty up front. I would say the Ohtani contract, even if not a perfect analogue, pretty definitively proves that.)
I think the Yamamoto contract will further solidify this. He’s going to get $300M+ and will have a similar NPB resume as Roki if Roki stays 3 more years. But there is also considerable injury risk for pitchers so I think there is a better argument for a pitcher going the Wander contract route than a position player. Of course, I’ll never blame a guy for locking in that kind of cash.

I’ve been fascinated with Roki since the WBC and TokyoSox has done a great job providing the perspective from Japan.
 

Apisith

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What’s stopping a team from saying that if he signed for them today that he’ll get a very attractive offer one year from now that’ll lock him up for his whole career?

His 6-year contract would go up to his age 28 season. If he gets a discounted contract going up to his age 35 year immediately after his first year for say $200m (including $50m for first 6 years), would that be illegal?

The numbers wouldn’t be given today as that would be illegal but the agreement would be ‘we’ll make you a very competitive contract after your first season that’s comparable to what other pitchers are getting’.
 

Tokyo Sox

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So maybe he didn't actually ask to be posted?
The second account you tweeted, GaijinBaseball, knows a ton about NPB (certainly more than me) but can be a little…aggressive in his opinions. He often strikes me as a rambunctious kid and I don’t think he has any special insight here. He’s also in a subset of gaijin yakyuu twitter who get really upset when Western media refer to existing NPB players as ‘prospects’: “They’re already in a Major League!!11!!1”. Okay buddy.

I don’t know much about the first account but he’s offshore and it looks like pure speculation.

IMHO which is worth what you’ve paid for it, the story is real.
 

Tokyo Sox

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What is the Japanese media’s relations to the teams and their corporate owners? If Sasaki asked to be posted is it possible that there would be a media blackout of the request to give the NPB a chance to get him to toe the company line?
I think that's a much more likely explanation for the complete silence of other outlets. Japan ranks quite poorly in freedom of the press rankings, and I think it's likely Chiba Lotte got the league to instruct everyone not to report on it. The fact that no one else is explicitly confirming the story isn't that strange, but the fact that they're not even discussing it at all is -- to me that is the silence that's deafening, just not in the way the above tweet means it.
 

jon abbey

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I don’t know much about the first account but he’s offshore and it looks like pure speculation.
You might be right but JJ Cooper is the editor--in-chief of Baseball America, FYI, not a rando.
 

Manuel Aristides

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I think the Yamamoto contract will further solidify this. He’s going to get $300M+ and will have a similar NPB resume as Roki if Roki stays 3 more years. But there is also considerable injury risk for pitchers so I think there is a better argument for a pitcher going the Wander contract route than a position player. Of course, I’ll never blame a guy for locking in that kind of cash.

I’ve been fascinated with Roki since the WBC and TokyoSox has done a great job providing the perspective from Japan.
Agree on both points here. Players definitely have some pretty strong incentive to seek a Wander-type deal, especially pitchers. But his risk tolerance is obviously dramatically different from the team's, and even waiting three years to split the difference on the Yamamoto trajectory is not without significant risk to him. Were I a pitcher I would do what I can to sprint to the MLB and then bend over sideways to get a "low" nine figure deal. Oh no, I capped myself at ~$100m, however shall I recover, etc. But I still say from a team perspective that unless it's a generational talent, I'm taking my time (and even with a generational talent, I'd like to see it a little in the league I'm paying him to play in first.) Good talk.
 

Tokyo Sox

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I believe the posting window closed on the 15th so, I've updated the thread title.
 

Apisith

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If Yamamoto gets $300m, Sasaki would be giving up a lot of money if he comes over before 25. I also wonder whether some college pitchers will go over to Japan and have an agreement to be posted at 25. Would the rules allow that? Go over to Japan at 22 or 23, if you’re dominant for 2-3 years then you’re the hottest FA in the market.

Becoming a FA pitcher at 25 is a whole different ballgame than at 30. Montgomery and Snell would both easily break $200m if they were 25.
 

Apisith

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A guy like Logan Gilbert would have benefitted massively IMO. Drafted in 2018 in the first round, got up to AA by 22, got to the majors by 24. Will be a FA in his age 30 season. If he went to Japan and performed as well as he has done in his career then he would have been a FA last offseason at 25 after posting the Japanese equivalent of 32 starts, 185 innings with a FIP of 3.50.
 

simplicio

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If Yamamoto gets $300m, Sasaki would be giving up a lot of money if he comes over before 25. I also wonder whether some college pitchers will go over to Japan and have an agreement to be posted at 25. Would the rules allow that? Go over to Japan at 22 or 23, if you’re dominant for 2-3 years then you’re the hottest FA in the market.

Becoming a FA pitcher at 25 is a whole different ballgame than at 30. Montgomery and Snell would both easily break $200m if they were 25.
It would be kinda funny to see Japanese HS players coming to the US for college to get to the majors sooner and US college kids going to NPB to be MLB free agents sooner.
 

Big Papa Smurph

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If Yamamoto gets $300m, Sasaki would be giving up a lot of money if he comes over before 25. I also wonder whether some college pitchers will go over to Japan and have an agreement to be posted at 25. Would the rules allow that? Go over to Japan at 22 or 23, if you’re dominant for 2-3 years then you’re the hottest FA in the market.

Becoming a FA pitcher at 25 is a whole different ballgame than at 30. Montgomery and Snell would both easily break $200m if they were 25.
An American high school player drafted 8th overall in 2018, Carter Stewart, went to Japan instead of signing with the Atlanta Braves. His stuff has looked worse and his Japanese career has been not that great, shuffling between the Majors and Minors. Fangraphs has his Future Value at 35+ (that makes him a below average prospect).
 

natpastime162

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Is Baseball Reference being too general with Japanese leagues or do stud pitchers often make their major league (equivalent) debut at 18 and 19? Yamamoto, Matsuzaka, Darvish, Roki all look like they made their debut as teenagers.
 

jon abbey

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An American high school player drafted 8th overall in 2018, Carter Stewart, went to Japan instead of signing with the Atlanta Braves. His stuff has looked worse and his Japanese career has been not that great, shuffling between the Majors and Minors. Fangraphs has his Future Value at 35+ (that makes him a below average prospect).
Coincidentally he got a 2/10 extension today though:

View: https://twitter.com/jballallen/status/1735662493899575786?s=46&t=0GHHaPVUX26Io0V2HIcS0g
 

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Is Baseball Reference being too general with Japanese leagues or do stud pitchers often make their major league (equivalent) debut at 18 and 19? Yamamoto, Matsuzaka, Darvish, Roki all look like they made their debut as teenagers.
All of those guys debuted as teenagers as, yes, most of the studs usually do. Typically they play the high school Koshien tournament in August, get drafted in October, and make their debuts the following season.

The only thing to be careful of on BRef looking up this kind of thing is with the name of the league. If it's JPPL or JPCL those are the big leagues -- Pacific League and Central League. If it says JPWL or JPEL or really anything else, those are the minors. Also if you're looking at cumulative stats be sure to only look at NPB, not just the blanket "Foreign" which includes the minor league numbers.
 

sean1562

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The Carter Stewart story is actually super interesting. I had never heard of him until this thread. Wikipedia says he signed a 6 year/$7 million contract in 2019 after the Braves offered an underslot contract, which was $4.98 million for pick 8 in 2018.

This article says he feels he got shafted by the Braves medical examination after the draft, to the point he filed a grievance with the union, which prevented him from playing baseball at a 4 year college while the grievance process was unfolding.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/04/sports/baseball/kumar-rocker-mets.html

So he signs in Japan, makes $7 million over 6 years, and signs a two year extension worth $10 million. $17 million for a below average prospect that will be 26 at the end of that extension. He had a 3.38 ERA last season in 77 innings in the JPL, so maybe he will get another $10 million contract in Japan in 2025. Probably more fun than riding the bus in AA and seems like a pretty sweet life. Good for him.

edit: He was the game 1 starter in the playoffs this year! Unfortunately, he gave up 3 ERs in 2.1 innings while Roki Sasaki struck out 4 in 3 scoreless innings. Strange they took Sasaki out after 3, limiting his workload?

https://npb.jp/bis/eng/2023/games/s2023101401843.html
 
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Tokyo Sox

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The Carter Stewart story is actually super interesting. I had never heard of him until this thread.
As usual, SoSH was on it at the time: https://www.sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/top-10-pick-forgoes-minors-goes-to-japan.27279/#post-3408432

And I've sometimes posted updates about him on the rare occasions when I'm keeping up to date on my NPB threads.

edit: He was the game 1 starter in the playoffs this year! Unfortunately, he gave up 3 ERs in 2.1 innings while Roki Sasaki struck out 4 in 3 scoreless innings. Strange they took Sasaki out after 3, limiting his workload?

https://npb.jp/bis/eng/2023/games/s2023101401843.html
Yes, Roki missed the month of August with an oblique injury or something iirc, and then only pitched twice in early September after getting the flu for a couple weeks. At the time of the playoff game he hadn't pitched in a month so wasn't going to be out there long.
 

Apisith

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Bangkok
The Carter Stewart story is actually super interesting. I had never heard of him until this thread. Wikipedia says he signed a 6 year/$7 million contract in 2019 after the Braves offered an underslot contract, which was $4.98 million for pick 8 in 2018.

This article says he feels he got shafted by the Braves medical examination after the draft, to the point he filed a grievance with the union, which prevented him from playing baseball at a 4 year college while the grievance process was unfolding.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/04/sports/baseball/kumar-rocker-mets.html

So he signs in Japan, makes $7 million over 6 years, and signs a two year extension worth $10 million. $17 million for a below average prospect that will be 26 at the end of that extension. He had a 3.38 ERA last season in 77 innings in the JPL, so maybe he will get another $10 million contract in Japan in 2025. Probably more fun than riding the bus in AA and seems like a pretty sweet life. Good for him.

edit: He was the game 1 starter in the playoffs this year! Unfortunately, he gave up 3 ERs in 2.1 innings while Roki Sasaki struck out 4 in 3 scoreless innings. Strange they took Sasaki out after 3, limiting his workload?

https://npb.jp/bis/eng/2023/games/s2023101401843.html
Yeah, getting $17m is probably 99% more than his expected earnings even after being drafted at 8. And he's still young enough to come to the majors, and would be able to do it on a free agent contract.
 

natpastime162

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,223
Pennsylvania
As usual, SoSH was on it at the time: https://www.sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/top-10-pick-forgoes-minors-goes-to-japan.27279/#post-3408432

And I've sometimes posted updates about him on the rare occasions when I'm keeping up to date on my NPB threads.

Yes, Roki missed the month of August with an oblique injury or something iirc, and then only pitched twice in early September after getting the flu for a couple weeks. At the time of the playoff game he hadn't pitched in a month so wasn't going to be out there long.
Okay, I’m convinced. He’s the perfect fit.
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
6,445
Sasaki's start yesterday was scouted by 8 teams:
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2024/03/yankees-mets-dodgers-cardinals-among-teams-scouting-roki-sasaki.html

Money quote from Nightengale:
Just when you think the Dodgers can’t possibly sign any more stars, several GMs believe that Roki Sasaki, 22, one of the best pitchers in the world, already has plans to sign with the Dodgers after the season.

“Every team in baseball wants this guy," one GM told USA TODAY Sports, “but there’s no way he’s going anywhere else but the Dodgers. We all know it."
 
I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere, but would it be legal for a team to offer a substantial charitable contribution in a player's name as part of a signing package, or does this come too close to compensation? For example, if Sasaki was posted this offseason and was limited to the max $6m international bonus pool money, could a team also offer $50m to any charitable organization(s) of Sasaki's choice as an incentive?