The Rising Sun: Analyzing Roki Sasaki’s Potential MLB Journey

The Astounding Performance of Roki Sasaki in Japanese Baseball

Over the weekend, a young baseball player named Roki Sasaki delivered a jaw-dropping performance that captured the attention of MLB teams, fans, and even bettors. His extraordinary game has earned him recognition as one of the best pitchers in baseball history. However, despite his incredible talent, it is unlikely that Sasaki will make his way to the big leagues in the near future.

A Perfect Game and Mind-Blowing Strikeouts

Roki Sasaki, playing for the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, threw a perfect game by striking out an astonishing 19 Orix Buffaloes over the course of nine innings. This achievement marked the 16th perfect game in the history of Japanese baseball and the first since 1994. Additionally, Sasaki set a new record in the NPB by striking out 13 consecutive batters during the game.

When asked about his remarkable performance, Sasaki humbly admitted that he hadn’t anticipated the possibility of a perfect game. He simply focused on pitching and trusted his catcher, Ko Matsukawa, until the very end.

Is Sasaki Ready for the MLB?

Sasaki is currently in his second year with Chiba Lotte Mariners. In his rookie season, he achieved a 4-2 record with a remarkable 1.84 ERA. In the early stages of the 2022 season, he has already accumulated a 2-0 record with an impressive 1.57 ERA in three starts. While it’s important to note that statistics in the NPB don’t translate directly to the major leagues, many experts consider the Japanese league to be the second-most challenging competition worldwide, surpassing even Triple-A leagues in North America. Sasaki’s outstanding performances at such a young age have sparked speculation about his potential as the next breakout Japanese star in the MLB.

Sasaki’s pitching arsenal is well-suited for a career in the MLB. His fastball averages nearly 100 miles per hour and possesses exceptional movement, comparable to that of the best pitchers in the league. Moreover, he showcases a splitter similar to Shohei Ohtani’s and occasionally throws various breaking balls.

The Roadblocks to an MLB Debut

Despite Sasaki’s impressive achievements and his repertoire of pitches, there are significant hurdles to overcome before seeing him on an MLB team, particularly if he chooses to make the leap overseas. As Sasaki is currently younger than 25 years old, he would have to navigate the international bonus pool system as a free agent, restricting the signing bonus he could negotiate with an MLB team.

Another possibility is for Chiba Lotte Mariners to place Sasaki in the posting system, allowing negotiations with MLB teams. However, it remains uncertain whether the Mariners would even consider allowing their promising young star to explore this path. Consequently, fans and bettors may need to exercise patience and wait until Sasaki reaches his 25th birthday before he can freely test the waters of MLB free agency. This suggests that he might potentially appear on an MLB roster as late as 2027.

A Glimmer of Hope: the International Draft

Despite the lengthy wait that may be required, there is a glimmer of hope for Sasaki’s earlier arrival in the MLB. The MLB Players Association and MLB are in discussions to establish a genuine international draft, a system that would revolutionize the pathway for foreign players entering MLB rosters. If such a draft were implemented, Sasaki could potentially command one of the top picks if he chooses to participate. While the MLBPA has historically opposed the idea of an international draft, it could serve as leverage to eliminate the qualifying offers associated with draft-pick compensation.


Roki Sasaki’s prowess on the baseball field has left both fans and experts in awe. His recent perfect game and remarkable strikeout record have solidified his reputation as an exceptionally talented player in Japanese baseball. While the path to an MLB debut may be delayed due to international restrictions and age limitations, the prospect of Sasaki joining the ranks of MLB players in the future remains tantalizing. Baseball enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the day when this young phenom finally graces the diamond in Major League Baseball.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many perfect games have been thrown in the Nippon Professional Baseball league?

A: As of now, there have been a total of 16 perfect games thrown in the history of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.

2. When was the last perfect game pitched in the NPB?

A: The last perfect game in the NPB was accomplished in 1994, before Roki Sasaki’s recent memorable performance.

3. What is the average speed of Roki Sasaki’s fastball?

A: On average, Roki Sasaki’s fastball reaches nearly 100 miles per hour, putting him in an elite class of pitchers.

4. Does Roki Sasaki have the potential to become a breakout Japanese star in the MLB?

A: Yes, many experts believe that Sasaki’s exceptional talent and early success in the NPB indicate his potential to make a significant impact in the MLB as a future star.

5. Are there any plans to establish an international draft in the MLB?

A: The MLB Players Association and MLB are engaged in discussions regarding the possibility of implementing an international draft, which could potentially change the landscape for foreign players entering MLB rosters.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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