Lotte Meets ‘Youngest Perfect’ 165km Monster… On the 25th, ‘Brother Club’ has been confirmed as a starter!

Loki Sasaki of Chiba Lotte Marines will start in a practice game against the Lotte Giants.

Japanese media “Nikan Sports” reported on the 11th, “Chiba Lotte manager Masato Yoshii said at a press conference that pitcher Roki Sasaki will start in a practice game against Lotte in Korea on the 25th.”마카오토토도메인

Lotte and Chiba Lotte will hold joint training sessions at Nishizaki Baseball Stadium in Onikawa and Niitoman City, Japan on the 22nd, and will hold two exchange matches on the 24th and 25th.

Last season, the two teams also held joint drills with the Chiba Lotte Group’s 1.5th team, and Sasaki was not present. The team didn’t even help with the weather. The team couldn’t conduct joint drills properly because it rained. However, joint training and practice matches with the Chiba Lotte Group 1 are scheduled this year. Kazuya Kojima will start their showdowns on Saturday.

In an interview with reporters before departing for the Guam Spring Camp on the 31st of last month, Lotte manager Kim Tae-hyung said of joint training with Chiba Lotte, “It is very helpful to have a practice match with the Japanese team. It is not easy to have a practice match with the Japanese team in Okinawa, and it will be a very helpful experience for the players.”

Sasaki has made a name for himself since he was a high school student by throwing fastballs in the second half, out of an average speed of 150 km/h. He joined Chiba Lotte through the 2019 Japanese Professional Baseball Draft.

Sasaki took the stage for the first time in the 2021 season, recording 16 strikeouts and an earned run average of 2.27, with three wins, two losses, and 63 ⅓ innings in 11 games. He became the youngest player to achieve perfect performance in the 2022 season. On April 10, 2022, he became the youngest player (20 years, 157 days) in the Japanese professional baseball league to achieve perfect performance in a game against the Orix Buffalos. He set a new world record by striking out 13 consecutive batters. Moreover, 19 strikeouts in one game were the most strikeouts in a game in the Japanese professional baseball league. In the 2022 season, he recorded 9 wins, 4 losses, and 129 ⅓ innings in 20 games with 30 strikeouts and an earned run average of 2.02.

Sasaki led Japan to the victory in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) ahead of the 2023 season, with one win, seven ⅔ innings, seven hits (one home run), two outs, 11 strikeouts, four runs (three earned runs) and an ERA of 3.52 WHIP (on-base percentage per inning) of 1.17. Last season, he played only 15 games due to injury problems, but he played well with a 1.78 WHIP 0.75 ERA in 18 strikeouts in 7 wins, 4 losses, 91 innings.

He was a hot topic ahead of this season. In the case of Japanese pro baseball, if the club allows him from the first year of joining the team, he can challenge himself to advance to the Major League. Sasaki asked for a big league posting, which Chiba Lotte declined. Since then, salary negotiations have not progressed, and news has reported that Sasaki has withdrawn from the Japanese pro baseball team. However, he completed his salary contract dramatically just before the spring camp began, and will join Chiba Lotte in the 2024 season.

Sasaki’s starting pitching can also be a good experience for Lotte batters. Sasaki also threw fastballs with a maximum speed of 165 km/h, and his fork is also fast with an average speed of 140 km/h, which is later in the day. Seeing balls that he has never experienced on the Korean stage will be a great asset.

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