The reality of Japan’s WBC (World Baseball Classic) dream team is being revealed one after another. In the case of the starting lineup, which determines the outcome of the short-term game, the news that ‘164 km perfect pitcher’ Roki Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte Marines) will start as the 4th starter is heard, and Lee Kang-cheol-ho’s vigilance toward Japan is rising.
On the 23rd, Japanese media ‘Tokyo Sports’ shed light on the thick depth of the Japanese baseball team’s starting lineup, saying, “Expectations are gathering for the effect of Chiba Lotte Marines Sasaki Rocky’s Samurai Japan 4th selection.”
Japan, which is aiming for its third WBC title in March next year, has built an all-time leading starting lineup by combining major leaguers and home league aces. Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), who has 188 victories in the U.S. and Japan, and Shohei Otani (LA Angels), who conquered the major leagues with two-time batting, have one-two punches, and Yamamoto Yoshinobu (Orix Buffaloes), who has won the Sawamura Award for two consecutive years, will support.
Sasaki is also a pitcher with skills comparable to them. Born in 2001, Sasaki pitched 9-4 with an ERA of 2.02 in 129⅓ innings over 20 games last season, the second year of his debut. On April 10 of last year, he was the youngest (20 years old and 5 months) in Japanese professional baseball to achieve a perfect game, and in the process set a phenomenal milestone of striking out 19 in one game and striking out 13 batters in a row. The depth of the Japanese starting lineup is solid enough that he is in charge of the 4th starter even though he is not enough for the 3rd starter. 안전놀이터
The local press expects Sasaki to pitch like an ace, even though Sasaki will be the 4th starter. Tokyo Sports said, “The WBC is a big tournament that major league scouts as well as high-ranking officials of each club pay attention to.” The voice of anticipation of what kind of special pitching he will show, away from the center of the spotlight, is growing,” he explained.
From March 9 to 13, Japan will face China, Korea, Czech Republic and Australia in turn at the Tokyo Dome. Tokyo Sports said, “Darvish, Otani, and Yamamoto are selected for the first four matches in the group stage, and Sasaki, Shota Imana (DeNA), and Shohei Dogo (Yomiuri Giants) will compete for the remaining spot. They can be used as long relief starting in the quarterfinals,” he mentioned various options.
From Sasaki’s point of view, it is also a good thing that Masato Yoshii, the team’s commander, is in charge of the national team’s pitching coach. Attention is focusing on the use of Coach Yoshii, who knows Sasaki better than anyone else, in the right place.
Tokyo Sports said, “The national team’s pitching coach is Lotte Manager Yoshii, who also has major league experience. It is expected that the entire pitching staff will be employed without difficulty,” he predicted. “Among them, the Sasaki Showcase will receive great attention from various angles from major league officials.”