Los Angeles Dodgers may be scouting next Japanese phenom

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: The blue carpet with the Dodgers logo and the Opening Series logo during an MLB opening day game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 03, 2017, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: The blue carpet with the Dodgers logo and the Opening Series logo during an MLB opening day game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 03, 2017, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are rumored to be keeping tabs on Japanese high school pitcher Rouki Sasaki, who could be the next phenom to come from that country.

Over the years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had a great amount of success with Japanese pitchers. From the days of Hideo Nomo, who proved to be a trailblazer for the country, to Kenta Maeda today, the Dodgers have considered Japan a valuable market to improve their team.

It is not a surprise that the Dodgers are reportedly scouting one of the top high school pitchers in the country. Rouki Sasaki has been lighting up radar guns, and has earned the attention of at least one major league team.

That 101 MPH fastball? Well, it broke the high school record set by Shohei Ohtani, although his record was set in a tournament game This velocity was recorded on a hand held radar gun by a scout for the Chunichi Dragons, so it may not be as reliable.

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Nonetheless, Sasaki is an intriguing talent. He is just entering his senior year in high school, but has yet to make an appearance thus far. At 6’3″ tall already, he is just an inch shorter than Ohtani, and has the potential to grow even more.

While he is reportedly not focused on coming stateside, Sasaki would be an intriguing pickup for any team that was able to land his services. In addition to that fastball, Sasaki is said to have a slider, slow curve, and a forkball in his arsenal. Although grades are not available for those other pitches, the difference in velocity between those offerings and the reported velocity of his fastball could make him a top prospect before long.

Obviously, a lot needs to happen before major league teams would begin to consider Sasaki. First, he needs to finish out the year in high school. Then, he would need to decide to forgo the NPB draft, a move that few Japanese players have made. Even then, there would likely be showcases before teams would vie for his services on a minor league contract.

Next. Dodgers should be concerned with Padres. dark

Rouki Sasaki is already turning heads, and reportedly has the attention of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It may be a matter of time before other teams start to check in on the latest Japanese phenom.