Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) youngest perfect game pitcher Sasaki Rocky (22, Chiba Lotte Marines) showed off his physical condition by throwing a fastball that reached 160 km in his first appearance.
Sasaki started a practice game against the Yakult Swallows held in Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture on the 15th and went 2 innings with 1 hit, 5 strikeouts and no runs. In particular, he struck out Munetaka Murakami, who hit 56 homers last year and became the Central League MVP, drawing admiration.
According to Kyodo News, Sasaki hit Murakami with a fast ball that reached 99.4 miles (160.0 km) from the ball count 1B2S to the body, leading to a strikeout on a swing. On April 10 last year, Sasaki drew attention by directing a perfect game against the Orix Buffaloes with 19 strikeouts and no runs in 9 innings.
In the 2022 season, he threw 129⅓ innings in 20 games, 9 wins and 4 losses, an average ERA of 2.02, and 173 strikeouts. Debuting in 2021, he recorded a total of 12 wins and 6 losses in two seasons, an average ERA of 2.10, and 241 strikeouts.
Sasaki, who is participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), said after the game, “It’s a practice game, but I didn’t want to hit a home run. It was my first game, and the overall balance was good.” I want to do it,” he said.
“Sasaki is on the right track,” said Masato Yoshii, head coach of Chiba Lotte and pitching coach for the WBC Japan national team.
It has not yet been decided where Sasaki will compete in the WBC.
Sasaki’s fastball speed is one of the best in the major leagues. According to ‘Delta Graphs’, last year he threw a fastball of 164 km (101.9 miles) and an average of 158.4 km (98.4 miles). NPB’s highest ever speed is 166 km, taken in 2021 by Yomiuri Giants foreign pitcher Thiago Vieira.
Last year, among major league starting pitchers, the highest velocity holder was Cincinnati Reds Hunter Green, who threw 102.6 mph. It was followed by Spencer Strider (102.4 miles) of the Atlanta Braves, Jacob deGrom (101.7 miles) of the New York Mets, and Shohei Ohtani (101.4 miles) of the Los Angeles Angels. 메이저사이트
Green and deGrom were fastest at 98.9 mph, followed by Strider at 98.2 mph, Miami Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara at 98.0 mph, New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole at 97.8 mph, and Ohtani at 97.3 mph. Sasaki’s velocity is faster than Ohtani’s, and is on par with deGrom’s.
Sasaki is actually the first stage for the WBC to announce its presence on the international stage. Numerous major league scouts will inevitably flock to Tokyo Dome, where the first round and quarterfinals will be held, as well as to Rondipo Park in Miami, USA if they reach the semifinals.
Sasaki can go to the major leagues at any time with the club’s permission, but for now, it seems that he will be aiming for posting after the 2026 season when he turns 25.