MLB Rumors: Yankees & Dodgers Among 8 Teams Scouting Next Japanese Superstar Pitcher

 It's only two games into the career of the latest Japanese pitching ace, LA Dodgers' Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but already, teams are scouting the next superstar hurler out of the Far East, Roki Sasaki.

According to a report out of Japan, the Dodgers and New York Yankees are among eight major league teams who have been overseas scouting Sasaki.

The New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals are among other teams that were keeping a close eye on the 22-year-old. Last year he had a 1.78 ERA and 0.74 WHIP for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and in his first start of the 2024 season, with all those big league scouts on hand, he allowed one run and six hits in five innings while striking out seven. 

His fastball, as they report in Japan, touched 159 km/h (that's 99 mph), though it can reach into the 160s (i.e. 100 mph).

Sasaki is best known for throwing a perfect game in April 2022 against the Orix Buffaloes at the age of just 20. He also holds the NPB record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings.

The phenom has already indicated he plans to come to MLB, but just exactly when is still unknown. "I have the desire to play in the U.S. Major Leagues in the future," said the fireballing right-hander earlier in the offseason. "I've been communicating every year. I believe the club understands it, too."

No doubt that watching his countryman Yamamoto sign a 12-year, $325 million contract with the Dodgers this past winter has whet his appetite to come to North America. Sasaki, three years younger than Yamamoto, is actually considered a better prospect. We can only imagine the contract that he might command.

Can the Dodgers, after spending over $1 billion to reel in Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto this off-season, afford another one of those deals? We wouldn't put it by them. Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, could certainly open up the vaults as well, to have Sasaki join another of his countrymen, Kodai Senga.

Photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports