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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-24-2012, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Fighters to take gamble by drafting Otani

Shohei Otani speaks during a news conference on Sunday.


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 10-29-2012, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Japan revisits rules after schoolboy sensation eyes MLB

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Japanese baseball could lift the 'Tazawa Rule' that places restrictions on prospects who begin their professional careers abroad following schoolboy Shohei Otani's decision to pursue his dream of playing Major League Baseball.

The high school pitching sensation triggered a potential bidding war among MLB clubs last week when he resolved to go abroad, which also sent shockwaves through the Japanese game.

Nippon Professional Baseball's 12 teams were now searching for alternatives to a rule designed to stop players jumping directly overseas, local media reported on Oct. 28.

Currently, players who go abroad straight from high school are ineligible for three years after their return. Corporate or university players are banned for two years upon return.

The rule came into effect in 2010 after corporate league pitcher Junichi Tazawa skipped the draft to sign with the Boston Red Sox.

Otani's decision, which alerted the Red Sox and New York Yankees among other North American clubs, was complicated further when he was selected by the Nippon Ham Fighters in the first round of Japan's draft a few days later.

Otani said of being drafted by the Fighters: "I was honestly shocked and a bit flustered by it. I haven't changed my feelings (about playing in MLB)."
Read whole article @ BASEBALL/ Japan revisits rules after schoolboy sensation eyes MLB - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun


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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-04-2012, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Teen pitcher Otani looking to make big jump to majors

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If I were Otani, though, I would talk to the Fighters and seriously consider playing in Sapporo in 2013. I would shelve the idea of going to the U.S. until I can prove myself as a top pitcher in the Japanese leagues, then look to move on via posting or free agency, following the likes of Kuwata, Matsuzaka and Darvish.

Who knows where Otani will be next spring if he signs with a major league club?

Probably in some small U.S. rookie league town where he would have to cope with language and cultural barriers. From there, he would have to work his way up through the system, maybe making it to the big leagues in a few years.

If he were to choose Nippon Ham, he could be in the Fighters Okinawa camp from Feb. 1, the center of media and fan attention as was Yuki Saito in 2011.

In April, he could be pitching in front of 42,000 fans at Sapporo Dome, starting a professional career that would eventually lead him to the majors at the peak of his skills at the age of 26 or 27, with plenty of time for a lengthy MLB career.
This kid might have a chance to be a better pitcher if he goes straight to the Minor Leagues, but at the expense of giving up instant fame in his own country. If he stays in Japan his arm will rack up some serious miles with some militaristic Japanese manager calling the shots. In the Minors, his pitch counts will be closely monitored. Daisuke Matsuzaka once pitched eighteen straight innings and ended up with over 250 pitches thrown, not sure if it was in high school or in the pros, in any case, pitchers are used differently in Japan.


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Last edited by Nebo86; 11-04-2012 at 08:41 AM.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 11-06-2012, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Otani shows futility of Tazawa rule

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The Nippon Ham Fighters are in favor of scrapping a rule intended to deter Japanese amateurs spurning Japanese clubs and signing directly with overseas teams. The team went out on a limb last month when it drafted high school right-hander Shohei Otani, who had previously expressed his desire to begin his pro career with a major league club.

If Otani signs with a major league club, a current rule would require him to sit out three Nippon Professional Baseball seasons after returning to Japan. The ban is sometimes referred to as the "Tazawa Rule" after Junichi Tazawa, who was Japan's first blue-chip player to sign directly with a major league club as an amateur.

"We were in favor of the rule at the time," Toshimasa Shimada, who represents Nippon Ham on NPB's board of directors, told Kyodo News recently. "We wanted to have it to deter players from going directly to the majors. But this shows it's not working. So why have it?"

The rule, enacted in October 2008, would force those who go abroad straight from the university or corporate-league level to sit out three seasons before they can be offered an NPB contract.

"Let's say Otani comes back after playing five years in the States, he'll still be just 23 years old," Shimada said. "Is it in the best interest of the game here to keep him out until he's 26?"
read whole article @ JapanBall.com


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Shohei Otani update

Nippon Ham Fighters meet with Shohei Otani


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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Otani chooses Sapporo over MLB



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Pitching sensation Shohei Otani has reversed his decision to jump straight to Major League Baseball by agreeing to join Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters.

The 18-year-old, whose possesses a 160kph fastball, told reporters on Sunday he would join the Sapporo club after being selected as the first pick in Japan's draft in October.

"I have decided to stay in Japan," Otani told a news conference. "I want to repay all the people who have supported me by becoming a pitcher children look up to."

Otani's desire to join an MLB club directly from school alerted the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox among others but also sent shockwaves through the Japanese game.

His wishes were complicated when he was selected by the Fighters just days after announcing he wanted to go straight to the major leagues.

It also prompted Japanese officials to consider lifting current rules which ban players who go abroad directly from high school from playing in Japan for three years on their return.

The so-called 'Tazawa Rule' came into effect in 2010 after corporate league pitcher Junichi Tazawa opted to skip the draft to sign with the Red Sox.

The Fighters will present Otani, from Hanamaki East high school in quake-hit northeast Japan, with the number 11 jersey previously worn by Yu Darvish, now with the Texas Rangers.
Read @ Japan schoolboy chooses Sapporo over MLB | Reuters


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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Recent news and notes on Otani

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1st round draft pick Shohei Otani attended the Nippon Ham product presentation ceremony on Saturday. He had to borrow a suit from Atsushi Ugumori because his suit is not scheduled to arrive until the 30th.
Source: Sanspo 1/27/2013, Sports Hochi 1/27/2013

Otani threw forty pitches to a standing catcher in the bullpen today. He mixed in his slider and curve.
Source: Nikkan Sports 1/27/2013

Otani will likely get a long look at short before he tries any other positions. And with Makoto Kaneko and Tomohiro Nioka both at Ni-gun spring camp, he should have opportunities to either watch and learn or ask and learn.
Source: Sponichi 1/27/2013

Baseball analyst Isao Harimoto does not think Otani will be able to succeed as a two-position player and is concerned he might ruin his career. He plans to see for himself what the youngster is about when he visits spring camp locations in February.
Source: Sponichi 1/27/2013
Read @ Yakyu Baka search results: otani


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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2013, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Fighters rookie Otani throws first bullpen



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Highly regarded Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Shohei Otani threw 35 pitches in his first bullpen session of spring training on Sunday.

The former Hanamaki Higashi High School phenom, who has been practicing both as a pitcher and a position player, is still finding his sea legs, but demonstrated his limber form on the third day of training with the farm team in Okinawa’s Kunigami.

With a phalanx of fans and reporters looking on, the right-hander tested his fastball and curveball, and after turning it up a notch mixed in his slider. He also had another day of fielding practice to show off his defensive skills.

“Overall, not really that good today,” said Otani, who signed as the Fighters’ No. 1 draft pick after previously announcing his desire to pursue a career in the major leagues.

“He had some pitches that got away and some that he left hanging, but he had velocity,” said Fighters catcher Takumi Oshima, who caught for him. “He got up around 140 km per hour.”

The 193-cm Otani, who has inherited the No. 11 uniform from former Fighters ace Yu Darvish, definitely stands out in a crowd.

“It was like catch ball with a little extra spice,” said Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama. “He looked good standing out there.”

“I still have it rough in places, but I want to do what I can and rest when it’s time to rest,” Otani said.
Read @ Fighters rookie Otani throws first bullpen | The Japan Times


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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Shohei Ohtani batting in pro ball:


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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Nippon Ham’s Otani earns first NPB victory
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A three-home run salvo helped lift Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters rookie Shohei Otani (1-0) to his first career victory, a 7-3 win over the Chunichi Dragons on Saturday afternoon.

The 18-year-old right-hander allowed Chunichi three runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Otani, whose fastest pitch reached 156 kph on the radar gun, struck out four in five innings.

The Fighters had 12 hits despite having their best-hitting right fielder, Otani, out of the batting order. Shinya Tsuruoka’s two-run homer put the Fighters ahead 2-1 in the second, and Michel Abreu’s three-run homer in the third made it 5-2.


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